In a cruel preseason blow, David Alaba will miss at least 6 weeks, with surgery set for tomorrow to repair a fractured bone in his foot. The injury was suffered during the friendly match vs. Napoli. With the season starting in about 4 weeks, he will certainly not be ready for the opener. Depending upon his rehab schedule, he might miss up to 4 matches (counting the DFB Pokal), or even more if there's a set-back.
This is bad news of the serious sort, considering how vital Alaba was to our late-season run last year. The Alaba-Lahm FB duo was one of the best things to come out of the season, with both corners locked down to opposing defenses as well as good forward pressure being brought from those FB spots. David brought a lot of youthful energy and pace, but he's also a savvy player for his age, generally avoiding mental errors and staying away from fouls (the hand-ball penalty in the Real Madrid match was just terrible luck).
The more I think about it, though, there are a few things that are not super-terrible about it. I won't call them "silver linings," because this is undeniably bad news, but a few reasons why this isn't a catastrophe:
- with Dante on board, we can slide Boateng to one of the FB positions, at least temporarily
- Rafinha, who also hobbled off during the Napoli match, will be ready by the start of the season. I know a lot of Bayern fans don't care for him, but at least he'll provide some depth
- Alaba was preparing to start his first full-length season as a starter at a big club. Given his age and relative inexperience, there was always a chance that he'd hit the wall sometime in the spring. Maybe if he gets held out until mid-September and slowly worked into the line-up, he'll hit his peak a little later and be less likely to run out of gas late in the season.
Anyway, right now, I'm just hoping the surgery goes well. As weird as it sounds, a bone break is actually less likely to cause long-term problems than a ligament or tendon tear. If the fractured bone is properly set and given time to heal, Davey should be back to 100 percent at some point this fall. I think the question of whether he gets back to full strength is more important than the question of "when."
So, get well soon, D.A. We'll check in after the surgery to see if there's a more specific timetable.