Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto FC Defender Clement Simonin Thankful Injury Roller-Coaster Is Over

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto FC Defender Clement Simonin Thankful Injury Roller-Coaster Is Over

Article excerpt

Simonin glad injury roller-coaster is over

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CHAMPIONSGATE, Fla. - Clement Simonin is without a contract at Toronto FC's training camp, his future up in the air.

But the French defender is all smiles these days. Finally healthy after a two-year injury roller-coaster, the 25-year-old Simonin is confident he can show off the skills that prompted Toronto to pick the unheralded North Carolina State centre back ninth overall in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.

"Everything is perfect. Feeling fit. Everything good," Simonin said. "It feels nice to be feeling this way."

Things looked bright early in the 2015 season with Simonin, pressed into action due to injuries to three defenders, made his MLS debut at Real Salt Lake City in late March. Across the Atlantic, his parents scoured Twitter for live updates.

"Personally I had a blast," he said two days later. "It was an amazing experience being out there. And I hope that's the first of many."

Simonin has played just one league game since.

In the wake of a hard tackle in Salt Lake, he started feeling pain in his right knee. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his meniscus in mid-April, a normal procedure with a three-month rehab.

A week after returning to training in July, he tore a different part of the same meniscus when someone fell on his leg making a tackle in practice. They tried everything to settle the knee -- he even started a game in Seattle in September and felt good doing so -- but eventually he went under the knife again in October.

After viewing the damage up close, his surgeon opted for a more radical approach -- re-attaching the meniscus. The procedure came with a positive prognosis but a much longer recovery time of nine months.

"It's a very long time," Simonin said. "When people get ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) surgery, which is a massive surgery, it takes six months. This one took nine."

He spent six weeks on crutches and needed three months before he could even start jogging. Not to mention countless hours of solo work at the Toronto FC training ground.

Nine months later, he played one game with the reserves and tore the quad muscle in his other leg making a long pass. He was out for a couple of months, returning in time for the last TFC 2 game of the 2016 USL season. …

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