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Amani Walker's knee injury a cautionary tale for pro soccer players

A really tough break for the striker.

Liza Rosales/OC Blues FC

Amani Walker announced on his Facebook page on Wednesday that he has a torn ACL and meniscus, and will undergo knee surgery to repair it the same day.

The Orange County Blues striker, who scored one goal in 2015, shares a tale that is frankly dispiriting, saying he tore his ACL in July but didn't realize it and played four more months, also tearing his meniscus in the process. He didn't realize the extent of the damage until his exit physical, and to add to the pile, he says he had to wait two months for the surgery because, "...if it were not for Worker's Comp denying it for a myriad of insignificant and truly stupid reasons. 5 appeals and over two months later, I am finally on my way to get it done."

No matter how you slice it (no pun intended), it's bad news. ACL surgical repairs usually take around nine months to get back to playing shape, and that's if everything breaks your way. For a player at a third-division side, the road is not going to be paved smoothly, most likely. Walker tore his ACL in 2013, too, and made it back, so it's entirely possible the 26-year-old will be back in 2016, of course.

But this story casts a light on not only the fragility of pro players' careers, but also the lack of a safety net for those who get hurt. I can't see a USL team signing him in this condition, meaning he'll have to wait until he's healthy to go out and try and find a team again. With that much uncertainty, it's got to be tough, and it makes sense there's a drive for USL players to unionize.

At any rate, best of luck to Amani in the surgery and subsequent recovery. You showed your toughness in playing through a major injury, and we hope you can make it back on the field soon.

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