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John Stertzer suffers fractured tibia in challenge against Xolos

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake midfielder John Stertzer will be out an estimated three to four months after sustaining a right tibia fracture during last night's friendly against Club Tijuana, RSL media has reported.

Stertzer suffered the injury in what seemed to be a relatively straightforward 50-50 challenge with young American forward Paul Arriola, though the speed, timing, or strength of the entanglement may have been impacted by a rain-drenched pitch.

It comes as a blow for Stertzer, who seems increasingly unlucky with injuries. He suffered a shoulder injury near the start of the 2013 season, keeping him out for basically the entire season, a concussion during 2014 preseason, and now this.

While it's easy to blame the injury on a friendly that has no clear impact on actual competition — and certainly there's some argument to be made there — this sort of injury could just as well have been suffered in a game for Real Salt Lake's reserves. It wasn't a challenge born out of desperation for a goal; it was a pretty routine 50-50 challenge.

This leaves RSL's midfield in a precarious position, with only seven fit midfielders available — Kyle Beckerman, Cole Grossman, Luke Mulholland, Luis Gil, Ned Grabavoy, Sebastian Velasquez and Javier Morales.