Emile Smith Rowe had successful surgery in late-September to repair a damaged tendon in his groin. The Arsenal midfielder has had recurring groin / hip issues for months (perhaps years) and suffered a significant setback during the warm-down after the Manchester United match on September 4th. While you never want to see players have to go under the knife and miss extended periods of time, hopefully the surgical repair will put a stop to the recurring, nagging injuries that have hampered his availability and development.
Smith Rowe hopes to return to full training in December, which means he will miss at least 13 Arsenal matches and will not be available for selection for the World Cup. He was an extremely long shot for the roster at this point anyway, but with the England side needing goals, who is to say what would have happened if ESR had gone on a scoring tear during the Gunners packed October schedule.
Gregg Berhalter wouldn’t pick him, see e.g. Jordan Pefok.
Arsenal should be able to weather Smith Rowe’s absence decently well, barring additional injuries. It’s a hit to the attacking depth and a shame to lose his scoring threat from the bench, especially with the upcoming congested fixture list. ESR, who has been somewhat on the periphery this season because of his nagging injuries, would have seen plenty of playing time, and him being unavailable means more minutes and less rest for someone else on the roster.
I’m sure that Mikel Arteta has a plan for how he wants to use Emile Smith Rowe in Arsenal’s current setup, but I’m not entirely sure what that is. And it’s not like Smith Rowe has had much opportunity for game time in whatever that role is. The October schedule would have provided him time to settle into and develop in that role. Oh well.
In the long run, getting Emile Smith Rowe to a place where he is consistently healthy and available is much more important. Here’s hoping the surgery gets him there.