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Atlanta United's Josef Martinez undergoes knee surgery

Atlanta United striker Josef Martinez
Image: Atlanta United striker Josef Martinez has undergone knee surgery

Atlanta United star Josef Martinez underwent surgery on his right knee, more than two weeks after he tore the ACL during the league-opening match at Nashville.

Martinez posted an update on his Instagram page after the operation at UPMC hospital in Pittsburgh. The striker was smiling and giving a thumbs-up as he posed in his bed alongside one of his doctors, Volker Musahl.

Also performing the surgery was Freddie Fu, the Pittsburgh-based orthopaedic specialist who was hailed for saving Zlatan Ibrahimovic's career after he ruptured knee ligaments in 2017.

Martinez was injured on February 29 in a 2-1 victory over Nashville to open the Major League Soccer season. He is expected to be out for much of he year, though the season is now on hold because of the coronavirus outbreak.

After he was injured, Atlanta United played two more games, a 2-1 victory over Cincinnati in the MLS and a 3-0 loss at Mexican powerhouse America in the opening leg of the CONCACAF quarter-finals, before all competitions were halted for at least a month in an effort to stem the virus from spreading.

Josef Martinez of Atlanta United is stretchered off in their MLS match with Nashville
Image: Josef Martinez of Atlanta United is stretchered off in their MLS match with Nashville

It could take up to six months for Martinez to recover from his injury, which means he might be able to return before the end of the season.

It could be next season before Martinez fully recaptures the form that carried him to a then-record 31 goals two seasons ago, when he led Atlanta United to the MLS Cup title. The mark was broken last season when Carlos Vela scored 34 goals for Los Angeles FC.

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Martinez has tallied 77 goals in 84 MLS matches since entering the league for Atlanta's debut season in 2017. He had 27 goals in 29 regular-season matches last season.

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