You may have noticed the group and/or subgroup headings on the top of every article here on CdT. Whether it’s ‘Roma Transfers: Real and Imagined’ or ‘Totti Today’, they’re simply our way of collecting and organizing our most common story subjects, cataloguing them if you will. Well, given what’s been going on in and around Rome and Trigoria over the past couple of years, we might as well create a group just to house all of Roma’s ACL injuries; it’s an epidemic in need of constant coverage.
After leaving the pitch during yesterday’s friendly, we all feared the worst for young Luca Pellegrini, one of the jewel’s of Roma’s youth system, and, well, it appears as though those fears were well founded.
Per the club:
On Saturday morning, full-back Luca Pellegrini underwent medical tests that confirmed a rupture in the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee.
The 18-year-old defender, a member of the club's Primavera side, suffered the injury during Friday's 1-0 friendly victory over FC Slovacko, on the final day of the club's pre-season training camp in Pinzolo.
He will undergo reconstructive surgery which will be scheduled to take place in due course.
You can now add Pellegrini’s name to this impressive list of Roma fullbacks who have suffered ACL injuries: Mario Rui, Abdullahi Nura, Antonio Rudiger, Alessandro Florenzi, Alessandro Florenzi again, Emerson Palmieri, and now Pellegrini. While freak injuries and accidents are part of playing sports, at this point you sort of have to scratch your head and ask what’s going on.
Granted Rudiger’s was on international duty, but that’s seven ACL injuries to defenders alone in, what, 18 months or so? I’m not enough of a statistician to know when the line between correlation and causality is breached, but seven of the exact same injuries have been inflicted upon Roma defenders in the past year and half. Imagine if the Tampa Bay Rays or whomever had a spate of UCL (Tommy John surgery) injuries hit their bullpen, like, just their bullpen, wouldn’t you start demanding answers?
But I suppose that’s besides the point. This isn’t merely an injury to a kid who might contribute in a year or two, in Emerson’s absence and with Rui out of town now, Pellegrini had a legitimate shot to grab starters minutes in the early goings; he was being tested as such during the preseason, so make no mistake, this is a setback of the highest order.
For the player, he loses a chance to shine and make a name for himself sooner than anyone would have imagined, while for the club, well, they pretty much have no left back at the moment. When the season begins in a month or so, barring any new acquisitions, chances are we’ll see Juan Jesus as our starting left back. And while he had a decent enough season (by his standards) last year, Jesus starting on the edge is far from an ideal scenario.
So, good luck, Luca. Take your time coming back, we don’t need another Florenzi situation on our hands. Rest up!