The outlook for Jordan Morris didn't seem good when the U.S. men's national team forward went down with a noncontact injury and was stretchered off the field in Swansea City's loss to Huddersfield Town on Saturday. The medical diagnosis has now confirmed as much.
Swansea City manager Steve Cooper revealed that Morris tore his left ACL, ending the on-loan player's season and likely keeping him out well beyond that. Almost three years to the day since Morris suffered an ACL tear with the Seattle Sounders—in his other knee—that cost him his 2018 season, he's on the mend for a lengthy recovery period again.
"He's had a bad injury, unfortunately for him," Cooper said Monday. "It's significant ligament damage [to his] ACL. Everything we hoped it wasn't, unfortunately it is. It’s the end of his season for us and a long road back to recovery; it’s very cruel.
"It’s a cruel injury anyway, but in the circumstances of him fulfilling an ambition and coming to Europe and being a part of what we’re trying to do here. It’s a really tough one for him and us to take."
“Jordan has our support. We don’t know if his recovery will be here or back in America—those conversations are ongoing—but, first and foremost, we are gutted for him," Cooper continued. “He was pushing to get into the team after a spell of getting fit, so it is really unfortunate in many ways.
“One thing I will say about Jordan is he is an excellent professional. He is a really good person, and really commits to his profession. We are sure he will commit to his recovery and come back stronger.”
As Cooper alluded to, Morris was embarking on his first foray into European soccer after spending his whole pro career to date with the Sounders. He secured a loan—with an option to make the move permanent—in January, but now the long-term plans to stay overseas could be scuppered.
His international prospects for an important year are suddenly bleak as well. Morris has been a mainstay under Gregg Berhalter, making 14 appearances in 2019 and taking part in 2021 January camp before departing to complete his Swansea move. With the Concacaf Nations League finals, Gold Cup and World Cup qualifying all to follow in the coming months, Morris figured to play a significant role, both as a core part of the attack and as a veteran figure on a team full of players under 23. Morris has a Gold Cup–winning goal to his name, securing the 2017 trophy for the U.S. with his 88th-minute winner vs. Jamaica. He has 10 goals and eight assists in 39 caps in all.
Morris has conquered injury adversity before, bouncing back from his previous ACL injury to win MLS's 2019 Comeback Player of the Year award. Now he's forced into a similar position again, putting his resiliency to the test. What happens after he's ready to return remains to be seen. He signed a five-year deal with Seattle in 2018 that reportedly featured three guaranteed years and two option years. The first of those option years will be 2022.
If there's an inspirational figure Morris can turn to, he need look no further than a U.S. teammate in the Swansea locker room. Paul Arriola, also on loan with the club, tore his ACL last February and was back on the field just over eight months later with D.C. United.