New York’s Juninho out this week against San Jose

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Whoa! Who saw this coming?

The Red Bulls will be without Juninho – their “Juninho,” not the league’s West Coast-based Juninho – for this weekend’s trip to San Jose.

Red Bulls manager Mike Petke revealed so after Thursday’s snowy practice in New Jersey.

Here’s the thing: no one should be surprised that a guy born before the U.S. Bicentennial is going to run into injury problems. Everyone had the same thought when New York signed the 38-year-old Brazilian. (Cynical much? Probably … It is what it is.)

It’s not just that he’s 38. He’s a 38-year-old midfielder (extra running, even if Dax McCarty is busy and nimble enough to pull extra duty), now dealing with those vagaries of MLS that we always talk about. The travel across such a big land is tough on the older bones. (The Red Bulls are making their second cross-country road trip in two weeks.)

And what about artificial turf, on which Juninho made his MLS debut last week in Portland? That adds some extra stress and strain on the joints and such.

By the way, San Jose will be in no mood this week. Frank Yallop’s proud Supporters Shield winners were shut out at home, frustratingly so. Sunday’s 10 p.m. ET kickoff is on ESPN2.

For New York’s sake, here’s hoping this is merely an “injury” and not the early makings of trend.