Melbourne Victory have dodged a bullet after Terry Antonis escaped serious injury after going down in Saturday night’s match against Sydney FC at the SCG.
Antonis’ knee buckled on turf labelled “disgraceful” by coach Kevin Muscat during Victory’s 2-1 A-League loss.
But the news was at least positive out of the Victory camp on Monday, with the club saying there was no long-term injury to the midfielder’s knee with the 25-year-old likely to be “back on the park soon.”
“After a comprehensive review with the club’s medical team, including an MRI, there is good news as Terry has thankfully been cleared of a structural injury to the knee,” said the club’s general manager of football operations, Paul Trimboli.
“Terry is still sore but his discomfort has eased dramatically and he’ll now commence treatment and a rehabilitation program. We’ll carefully manage his progress but are hopeful to see him back on the park soon.”
Antonis underwent scans late on Sunday after returning to Melbourne, while the rest of the squad travelled to China for Wednesday’s AFC Champions League clash with heavyweights Guangzhou Evergrande.
While no specific timeline for his return was given, the club would now be hopeful he’ll be ready before the A-League finals, which start in four weeks’ time.
Regardless, the 25-year-old’s absence from their midweek clash leaves Victory short in Asia. They are already underdogs for a match they need to win if they are to continue their continental campaign past the group phase.
Antonis’ injury means they will field a five-man bench against Evergrande, with just 14 outfield players travelling to China.
Fellow midfielder Raul Baena is still suffering with a hamstring issue, with fringe players Jai Ingham, Rahmat Akbari and Birkan Kirdar also staying at home.
Fit defender Georg Niedermeier would be a handy inclusion but has stayed in Australia as competition rules restrict each team to just three foreigners and one Asian player.
Muscat has taken three goalkeepers — Lawrence Thomas, Matt Acton and Matt Sutton — a sign he believes first-choice goalkeeper Thomas will be fit to play at Tianhe Stadium, but wants an insurance policy.
Antonis’ injury was just one of two major blows suffered by Victory on Saturday night; their injury-time loss to Sydney FC was the other.
The result means Muscat’s side are almost guaranteed to finish third, and miss out on a week off in the first week of the finals.