Striker Steven Lenhart's debut with the San Jose Earthquakes will have to wait.
The big striker from Yorba Linda underwent arthroscopic surgery Thursday to repair a slight tear in the meniscus in his right knee and is expected to be out as long as four weeks. The Quakes, who acquired him in draft-day trade from Columbus, open the Major League Soccer season March 19 at home against Real Salt Lake.
Lenhart (Esperanza HS/Azusa Pacific) apparently hurt his knee during the Quakes' 10-day preseason trek to England, and an MRI exam Wednesday disclosed the extent of the injury.
"It's not really, really bad, but it's one of those things where it was going to linger," San Jose coach Frank Yallop told the league's website. "He wanted to get it done. It's his knee, and he felt it wasn't right."
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound forward is slated to be the target man in the Quakes' new 4-3-3 alignment. Ryan Johnson was slated to play the position in San Jose's exhibition Friday night against MLS champion Colorado in San Luis Obispo.
"It is [disappointing], because he's played well and trained well in preseason, but that's the reason we have a squad of players,” Yallop said. "Hopefully, we won't miss him too much."