Tony Beltran expected to be out for nine months after knee surgery

Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran, right, rects as he is attended to by a trainer after being injured against the Colorado Rapids in the first half of an MLS soccer match, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, in Commerce City, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

It’s rare for Real Salt Lake coach Mike Petke to stress the severity of an injury, and he wasn’t exaggerating when he said in October that Tony Beltran was “very badly hurt.”

Beltran is expected to miss the first half of the 2018 season after the team announced he underwent two successful surgeries on his right knee. The second of the two surgeries was performed Nov. 30, and team orthopedic surgeon Andrew Cooper estimated a nine-month recovery.

“Because it was a multi-ligament reconstruction, we staged him in his procedures,” Cooper said in a team release. “He should do great. This is a real injury, and if anyone will do the work to get fully recovered, it’s Tony.”

Beltran injured his ACL, LCL and posterolateral corner in RSL’s Oct. 15 match at Colorado. The Rapids’ Dominique Badji was issued a yellow card for the play that took Beltran out of the game.

Cooper first assessed and repaired Beltran’s LCL and posterolateral corner (the structures on the back, outside part of the knee). He used the second procedure to fully reconstruct Beltran’s ACL and LCL.

The veteran right back’s contract is guaranteed for the 2018 season. Beltran started all 21 matches he appeared in this year. He scored his first MLS goal Sept. 9 at Vancouver, midway though his 10th season with RSL.