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D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid will miss 4-6 months with knee injury

Bill Hamid, D.C. United’s star goalkeeper and longest-serving player, will miss four to six months recovering from knee surgery — a timetable exceeding initial indications and a major setback for a club that has relied heavily on the U.S. national team prospect.

Hamid, 25, underwent surgery last week in Los Angeles to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee. At the time, United officials did not specify the anticipated length of his absence. Sources estimated he would need about 12 weeks and might be at full strength by early June.

According to the club’s announcement Thursday, however, Hamid might not return until mid-July. That would rule him out of about half of the 34-game regular season schedule, as well as several national team activities.

The injury, suffered during offseason workouts and diagnosed ahead of U.S. training camp, came six months after minor surgery on the same knee.

The Annandale native and former DeMatha student is entering his seventh full MLS season. He was the goalkeeper of the year in 2014 and a finalist last season. Hamid trained with the Premier League’s Norwich City for a week this offseason.

Always blessed with tremendous shot-blocking skills, Hamid has made notable improvement the past few years in his decision-making and ability to read the game. He was Jurgen Klinsmann’s third-choice selection behind veterans Tim Howard and Brad Guzan for the U.S. World Cup qualifiers in November and figured to hold the lead role for friendlies against Iceland and Canada during the winter camp in Carson, Calif.

In Hamid’s absence, Andrew Dykstra moves to the top of the depth chart. Dykstra, 30, is a capable MLS back-up who started nine regular season matches last season, plus five CONCACAF Champions League games. Over the short term, United would be comfortable with the Woodbridge native and Virginia Commonwealth graduate in net. However, a long-term void has forced the club to reassess the situation.

The third goalie on the roster is Travis Worra, who, as a rookie last season, played almost exclusively for the third-tier Richmond Kickers.

Among the unaffiliated goalkeepers on the market is Tally Hall, the Houston Dynamo’s starter from 2011 to 2014. United has had discussions with Hall’s representative, sources said.

After tearing an ACL in August 2014, he was traded to Orlando City ahead of its 2015 expansion season. Hall, 30, returned from the injury last May and started 23 league matches. In October, however, he underwent surgery for torn meniscus in the same knee. He is rehabbing the injury and on course to return in March.

Orlando declined to exercise the option on his contract and, given his $250,000 salary and injury history, was not selected in the MLS re-entry draft.

United is likely to invite goalkeeping candidates to training camp, which will open this weekend at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The club will play six friendlies ahead of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals against Queretaro, Feb. 23 in Mexico and March 1 at RFK Stadium.