Philadelphia Union midfielder Maurice Edu will miss the remainder of the MLS campaign with a fractured left fibula.
After missing the first 33 games of the MLS regular season, Edu was actually in line to start Sunday's regular season finale against the New York Red Bulls. But during Saturday's training session, Edu was attempting a shot on goal only for his foot to get caught in the turf, twisting his lower leg in the process.
"[There was] no contact, no one even around him. Edu was just by himself," Curtin said via telephone. "He reached for a ball, and he actually scored a great goal, but he never saw it go in because he was in so much pain. The turf kind of gave out, and he broke his fibula."
Nothing has gone right for the U.S. international this season. Edu underwent surgery for a sports hernia during preseason, and then came the stress fracture in his left leg that sidelined him for much of the campaign. His only minutes came with Bethlehem Steel, the Union's USL affiliate.
Asked by reporters on Sunday how it felt to come so close to returning, Edu said: "A little bit frustration. A lot of frustration, to be honest. But all I can do now is get back to work, focus on the positives and make sure that my situation isn't a distraction from the team."
Curtin said there was no connection between this latest injury and Edu's previous ailments.
"It was just a fluke, freak thing," he said.
Curtin later added, "The poor guy has worked so hard to get back. He was going to get his start against a good Red Bull team, and the plan goes out the window. It's tough. I feel terrible for him. The guys feel terrible for him, but we have to look forward now and try to get a win for him, a win for the club. It's a tough one for him but injuries are the bad part of the game.
As Philadelphia heads into Wednesday's knockout game against Toronto FC, it has other injury worries as well. Defender Josh Yaro had been given the all clear to return after sustaining a concussion back on Sept. 21, but will sit out the game after sustaining an MCL strain.
Midfielder Warren Creavalle has been dealing with a rib injury, but could still play a part on Wednesday.
"I think Creavalle will be OK, it's just a question of tolerating the pain," said Curtin. "There's no tomorrow, so he'll have plenty of time to rest after that."
Curtin said at his news conference on Monday that he knows the Union are underdogs to win the MLS Cup, but he insisted that's a status to which his players have grown accustomed.
"Every major outlet had us [ranked] somewhere between 18-20 [place overall] when we started the year. That's the same challenge we have now," he said.
"Not many people are giving us a chance. We've been a good team when we're considered the underdog and my guys have responded well of being in that situation. It's no different."