Aerial steps down from ENCE's starting lineup to take indefinite sick leave
It is currently unclear when the 27-year-old will be able to return to action.
Jani "Aerial" Jussila has notified ENCE that he is on sick leave for an indefinite period of time, the Finnish organisation announced on Thursday. This leaves the team with just four active players, forcing the BLAST Pro Series Madrid 2019 champions to withdraw from Elisa Invitational 2, which is slated to start next week.
ENCE added that they are currently assessing their options in light of the news. The Finnish organisation will be looking to complete their roster in time for IEM Beijing-Haidian, the $150,000 tournament that ESL will hold between November 6 and 22.
Aerial has been on ENCE's books since the organisation's return to activity, in April 2018. He was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of BLAST Pro Series Madrid, where he averaged an impressive 1.28 rating to help his team, a wildcard invitee, win the event over the likes of Astralis, NiP and Natus Vincere.
In a statement, the 27-year-old revealed that he has been unable to perform at his best due to what he described as "issues with my well-being". He has averaged a team-low 0.96 rating in the last six months, finishing all but two of the eight events that he played during this period with below-average numbers.
"This decision was extremely hard to make and it took me a long time to make the call," Aerial said. "Now it’s time for me to prioritize myself and my wellbeing over everything else. I would like to thank my teammates for their understanding, our fans for all their support and to everyone at ENCE for their help. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to come back to play yet. Now it’s time to focus on myself."
The news adds to an already turbulent period for ENCE, who are on the lookout for a new coach after Slaava "Twista" Räsänen was slapped with a 15.75-month ban by the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) for using the spectator bug during his time at the helm of iGame.com. The Finnish organisation is looking for an experienced candidate to take over the team, regardless of nationality.
ENCE currently have:
Jani "Aerial" Jussila (medical leave)