D.C. United's Thabiso Khumalo Will Miss 2-6 Weeks

By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thabiso "Boyzzz" Khumalo, whose wrist was broken by a kicked ball in the final moments of D.C. United's U.S. Open Cup semifinal Tuesday, will undergo surgery Thursday and miss two to six weeks, the MLS club announced.

Khumalo, a South African midfielder-forward who scored the go-ahead goal in the 82nd minute of the 2-1 victory over second-division Rochester at Maryland SoccerPlex, was pursuing the ball deep in the Rhinos' end when goalkeeper Tim Melia's clearing attempt struck him in the right wrist.

Afterward, Khumalo said he knew right away that he had suffered a fracture. He had X-rays later that night.

Club officials said Wednesday that, if the injury requires a cast to his elbow, Khumalo might return in two weeks. However, if doctors discover more severe damage and apply a cast to his biceps, he probably wouldn't be available until September.

Khumalo, 28, has appeared in eight of 18 league matches (two starts) and started United's five games in the U.S. Open Cup, a 95-year-old tournament involving clubs from all levels of American soccer. He scored in a play-in game against New York and in the quarterfinals against third-division Harrisburg.

The Open Cup has been a particularly painful experience. Two weeks ago, United rookie midfielder Brandon Barklage tore a knee ligament. On Tuesday, besides Khumalo's injury, Rhinos midfielder Darren Kenton suffered extensive damage to his left ankle and lower leg on a challenge for the ball with United's John DiRaimondo.

Khumalo's absence comes at a time when United is replenishing its roster. Defender Dejan Jakovic has returned from Canadian national team duty at the Gold Cup and is expected to start Saturday when United (6-3-9) resumes league play at San Jose (3-10-4). Midfielder-forward Santino Quaranta will be back from the U.S. Gold Cup effort next week.

Eligibility paperwork for midfielder Danny Szetela, who was acquired through MLS allocation last week, is likely to be finalized Thursday. The club also has begun negotiations with Belgian-based defender David Habarugira and is planning to fill an additional developmental roster slot soon.

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