Cory Gibbs, the Fire's 2011 Defender of the Year will miss the next 4-6 months after undergoing surgery today to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. The 32 year old defender has a history that includes a knee injury in 2005 that caused him to miss considerable time at Feyenoord, a torn ACL in 2006 that effectively ended his time with the USMNT, and a variety of injuries that kept him from appearing in a single match from 2006 to 2008 after signing for Charlton Athletic.
After a return to MLS in 2008, Gibbs proved to be a solid defender appearing in 29 matches over one and a half seasons with Colorado missing 9 games due to injury in that time frame. His last two seasons with New England and Chicago have been relatively injury free but the Fire were wise to continue to pursue the acquisition of an experienced central defender for depth at the position given Gibbs' injury history.
If he is fully fit and ready to go by Sunday, Arne Friedrich's introduction into the starting eleven could not have come at a better time. Initially thought to replace Jalil Anibaba on the right side, Friedrich will now likely be teamed with the second year defender in the middle of the Fire's defense. The 32 year old Friedrich is not without injury questions of his own so it's possible that Austin Berry, who some observers called the most MLS-ready player in this year's draft will be tested at some point this season. Rookie left back Hunter Jumper has the size and mobility to play the position as well and has looked good in his time there during preseason play. Third year man, Kwame Watson-Siriboe is also an option if the injury bug continues to hit.
Gibbs and Friedrich would have been a more than solid pairing veteran pairing that may have allowed Anibaba some time to watch and learn from a World Cup veteran. He'll get a much closer look now and has a great opportunity in front of him.