TFC's Herdman says speedy wingback Tyrese Spicer likely out for six weeks with back injury

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Toronto FC, looking to find its way back into the win column, will likely be without rookie wingback Tyrese Spicer for the next six weeks.

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Coach John Herdman said the back injury which has forced the 23-year-old from Trinidad and Tobago to sit out the last two games is more serious than originally thought.

“Some imaging revealed that there’s a deeper issue,” Herdman said Thursday. “That’s part of why he didn’t go to his international call-up and it’s why he’s been managed with his minutes. But we’ve started to get to the root of the problem. He took a knock in the back a couple of weeks back and it hasn’t really been able to recover.”

“It’s not muscular, it’s more in an around the bone. So it’s going to take some time,” he added. “That’s disappointing.”

Spicer, the first overall pick in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft, has been a revelation while healthy. One of the fastest flank players in the league, he is also able to deliver an accurate cross.

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A toe injury also cost him some playing time. Spicer has played in 13 of Toronto’s 19 league games, with 10 starts, recording two goals and two assists.

“We are missing Ty,” said Herdman. “I think he’s the sort of player that comes into the game, to finish strong, to bring that threat in his pace to stretch a line, to get an opponent thinking both ways.”

Herdman lamented the string of injuries his team has experienced this season.

“It seems to be our season,” he said. “It seems to be just this reality of we seem to take a step forward, the squad seems to solidify and we take a step back and we have to adapt. We’ve got the summer (transfer) window coming up so I think we’re going to have to be active in that space.”

Herdman also revealed that Italian star Federico Bernardeschi was under the weather with “some kind of flu” in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to visiting Nashville SC.

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“He’s obviously feeling that a bit more (Thursday),” said the coach.

Bernardeschi missed a penalty, slipping as he took the kick, but set up Toronto’s lone goal by Alonso Coello.

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Toronto is also managing fellow Italian Lorenzo Insigne after being away due to injury and the birth of his third son in Italy. The former Napoli captain came off after 62 minutes Wednesday with Herdman explaining he was “gassed.”

Herdman’s team is also without injured defender Shane O’Neill and midfielder Brandon Servania.

Toronto (7-9-3) is winless in its last five games (0-3-2) and has won just once in its last eight league outings (1-5-2). Saturday’s game at the New York Red Bulls is TFC’s third in a week.

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