Houston Dynamo captain, Brian Ching, is looking at spending the next 2-4 weeks on the sideline after picking up an injury to his rib cartilage in this past weekend's match against the New York Red Bulls.
Ching, who started his first MLS game of 2011 against New York, was involved in a number of aerial challenges with Red Bulls goalkeeper, Bouna Coundoul. The first major collision of the night occurred early in the first half when Ching received a blow to the head from Coundoul when jumping for a header. The challenge looked to ring Ching's bell, but the veteran forward was quick to return to action on the field.
Just moments later, in the 31st minute, Brad Davis swung in a free kick from the right side of the pitch. The free kick swung in towards Ching who jumped for a header, only to be clobbered by Coundoul as the goalkeeper came off his line to clear the ball. The collision was nasty and Ching clearly had the breath knocked out of him. The forward tried to play on and even managed to run for a few minutes after receiving treatment, but the injury was too much and Cam Weaver was brought on to replace the Dynamo captain.
In an interview with MLSSoccer, Ching discussed the challenge and his injury.
"I got hit a couple of times and didn't think anything of it, but I was running up the field and went to make a cut and I felt a pop and couldn't move or breathe after that," Ching said. "The trainer came out and when I was on the ground, I felt it pop again and the pain wasn't as bad. I thought I could play and as soon as I went out and turned, I felt the pop again and realized I was done."
Until Tuesday, no news was available on the extent of Ching's injuries, and fans were left fearing the worst; broken ribs could have sidelined the captain for 6-8 weeks. The official diagnosis of the striker's injury is costochondral separation, the separation of a rib from the cartilage connected to the sternum, which should take 2-4 weeks to fully heal.
Ching is certainly out of Wednesday night's U.S. Open Cup play-in, and may be out of Sunday's clash against the Vancouver Whitecaps (at Robertston Stadium), but could be back to action in two weeks against the New England Revolution on April 17.
"At this point, it's a matter of pain tolerance and how he feels with the injury as far as when he gets back," said head coach Dominic Kinnear.
Here's a video of the challenge that left Ching injured.