UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Amid all the buzz and finger-pointing surrounding the Thierry Henry-Kevin Hartman incident, the news on Monday from Dallas that Hartman will likely miss two to three weeks is a cruel but expected blow for FC Dallas.
Hartman, who suffered a MCL sprain when he collided with Henry during the New York striker’s now infamous goal celebration, was subbed out at halftime and spent the rest of the game on the bench with an ice pack on his knee.
From his vantage point, New York head coach Hans Backe didn’t have an issue with what happened.
“There was no intent to hurt or be reckless,” Backe told MLSsoccer.com on Monday. “Henry is not that type of a player to do something like that to hurt someone. It was absolutely an accident.”
[inline_node:318533]Backe, who has seen the replay, said he talked with Henry about the incident but didn’t advise him to stop that particular celebration. Henry did something similar against Colorado during the Red Bulls’ 3-1 win on Sept. 11, emphatically kicking the ball into the back of the net after Dane Richards’ insurance goal.
“Often when a striker scores, it is not uncommon for the other striker to come in and kick that ball hard,” Backe said. “I’ve seen it all the time happen. It’s nothing really uncommon.”
While there was no intent to injure, Backe said that it was “very sad what happened to Hartman – unfortunate, really.”
“What I could see in the replay, Hartman went to kick the ball away after the goal and that’s when Thierry kicked it,” Backe said. “Right as [Hartman's] leg opened up, that’s when the injury happened.”