Sophia Smith has mild MCL sprain, status is "week-to-week"
It's not nothing, but it is far from the worse-case scenario.
That breath you have been holding since you saw Sophia Smith go down in the first half of the Portland Thorns’ game on Sunday can now be exhaled — at least a little bit.
The Thorns announced today that Smith has sustained a mild MCL sprain in her right knee. Her status is “week-to-week”, and she is currently undergoing rehabilitation with the Thorns medical staff.
After seeing Smith go down in pain on the weekend and the subsequent images of her on crutches after the game, you would be forgiven for fearing the worse. Thankfully, Smith’s injury is not season-ending, and it appears that she will see the field for the Thorns again in 2023.
The USWNT and World Cup debutante’s impact on the team cannot be understated. She leads the team — and the NWSL golden boot race — with 11 goals and is also second on the team with five assists. She is the offensive dynamo that elevates the Thorns into perennial championship contenders, and their road to defend their NWSL title will be easier with Smith still being a factor.
Still, they will have to cope without her impact for at a time — but potentially not that many games.
The Thorns face off against Racing Louisville in Kentucky on Saturday at 4:30 p.m., and will certainly be without Smith on the weekend. But due to the Challenge Cup, after Saturday the Thorns don’t play again until a September 16 match at home against OL Reign. They then play two weeks after that on September 30 against San Diego, also at home.
With just two games until the end of next month, it is a good bet that Smith will be healthy enough to return in some capacity on September 30, or very soon thereafter.
With Smith set to still be a factor, the defending NWSL champs look set to enter the playoffs in two months with their full roster intact, setting their sites on a repeat.