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George John injury may only be a bad sprain

Sep 16, 2012, 4:45 PM EST

Real Salt Lake v FC Dallas Getty Images

FC Dallas’ playoff fate, about 25 seconds from being sealed last night before Julian de Guzman’s volley somehow found its way through about 30 legs crowded around Vancouver goal, may now be in the doctor’s hands.

Such is the tenuous state around FC Dallas Stadium.

Imposing center back George John was stretchered off after 74 minutes, having fell hideously on his left ankle while stretching to block a shot. John’s obvious pain and frustration (not to mention that stretcher ride that took him immediately into the locker room, never a good sign) had everyone around FC Dallas thinking the worst.

Dallas’ offense has been better over the last two months with the return David Ferreira, and the more recent return of Blas Perez is a big lift, too.

But no one has been more important than John to Dallas’ re-introduction into the playoff race lately. He’s been a wall back there, not just winning everything coming his way but also communicating and helping cover for rookie Matt Hedges, who is doing OK but somewhat stretched in trying to fill the shoes of veteran Ugo Ihemelu. (Ihemelu has been out since early summer with concussion-related symptoms, and is all but certainly done for the season.)

It now looks like John’s injury may only be a bad sprain. What manager Schellas Hyndman said after Saturday’s late, dramatic win.

A sprained ankle and we don’t know what that means. We’re off next weekend, we had all our games earlier in the year and unfortunately that’s when we had most of our injuries. With George it could be two weeks, four weeks or six weeks, all I know is that it’s a sprain.

Dallas may fight its way into the playoffs. But realistically, without its top two center backs, there’s precious little chance that Schellas Hyndman’s team would have enough defensive cover to pull off any upsets from there.

What Dallas does have going in its direction: Because the schedule was so front-loaded, Hyndman’s team has just one match over the next 21 days.

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