Blast midfielder Billy Ronson will be out of action for three to six weeks, forcing coach Kenny Cooper to rework his lineup.
Ronson went into surgery yesterday hoping he had only a cyst in the back of his knee. When he came out, an hour later, Dr. Joseph Ciotola told him he was only a third right.
Surgery revealed a cyst in the back of Ronson's right knee, but it had caused a ruptured bicep tendon. Ciotola also discovered a tear in the lateral meniscus cartilage.
Ronson, who probably would have only a slim chance of playing again this year if the Blast reached the championship series after the regular season ends April 4, will not begin rehabilitation for at least a week.
"We're very simply faced with a life-and-death situation," said Cooper, referring to the team's playoff struggle.
The Blast is a game and a half behind the Cleveland Crunch and Wichita Wings, who are tied for the last playoff spot in the Major Soccer League.
"We've been making adjustments all season, and now I've got to find a way to strengthen us without weakening us defensively," Cooper said.
In an effort to do that before Thursday's game here against the St. Louis Storm, Cooper will move defenders Mark Mettrick and Doug Neely to midfield. Both have shown skill attacking from the back this season.
Since forward Jean Harbor is playing well, he and Domenic Mobilio will play as the team's target men. Rusty Troy shifts to defender, with rookie Kris Kelderman joining veterans Iain Fraser and David Eise, who will return from a bruised shoulder. Rod Castro, Kevin Sloan, Joe Koziol and Ali Kazemaini will remain at midfield.
"If Billy's injury hadn't hurt his effectiveness all season and Mike Stankovic hadn't gotten hurt, we might not be in this position," Cooper said. "But this is where we are. We need to face reality and understand we need a miracle on Baltimore Street.
"I think moving Mark and Doug to midfield could help. They're excited about it, and it could vent some of the frustration the defenders have felt over a lack of scoring."
According to MSL rules, a team cannot replace a roster player this late in the season unless two players are on the injured list.
While Stankovic has been on the injured list most of the season, his position was filled by Kazemaini before the freezing of the roster.
NOTES: Castro had his right hamstring X-rayed yesterday, and no damage was found. Fraser is to get his Magnetic Resonance Imaging results back on his left hamstring today. . . . Troy, who injured his foot Saturday, said it felt better yesterday and he decided not to have it X-rayed.