Columbus Crew SC fullback Harrison Afful’s milestone cup with his US club turned tragic as he broke his jaw during their victory over Atlanta United last Saturday.
The Ghanaian who was playing his 100th game for the Black and Gold club was said to have clashed with his international teammate, Jonathan Mensah, leading to a fracture in his jaw.
Afful is expected to be out for at least six weeks after he was rushed to the hospital to receive treatment.
According to Afful’s teammate, Wil Trapp, he heard a sound but didn’t know what it was because of the wet jerseys but got devastated upon hearing later that it was the jaw of Afful.
“I heard a sound, but you just never know – it’s wet and the ball is hitting sopping wet jerseys so you just don’t know what the sound is,” Trapp said. “So he went down and I thought it was a nose break, which is still serious but not a big deal. To hear that he broke his jaw is just devastating.”
The coach of Columbus Crew, Caleb Porter, who gave an update of the injury, said the play had his jaw wired shut which would remain that way for at least five weeks.
“As you know, with fractured jaws, they wire your jaw shut,” he said. “So he’ll have his jaw wired shut for a period of four to five weeks. From there, it will be a matter of his fitness and nutrition. We don’t have a clear timeline on his return to play after those four or five weeks.”
Porter expressed his disappointment of going to lose a player in the quality of Afful but was certain his replacement, Hector, was equally good and could fit in the void created by the injured Ghanaian fullback.
“You never like to lose a quality player like him from your team,” Porter said. “But that’s why you have a squad, and it opens up an opportunity for Hector. We’re very confident in Hector and very comfortable with him. So we’ll have to manage this four or five weeks and then several weeks after that without Harry.”