Editorial (August 13, 2017) – Shkelzen Gashi has been one of the biggest absences of the Colorado Rapids season. An Achilles flare up has kept him in and out of the lineup for months. For the first time in almost a month last week, he trained with the team two weeks ago. He could be 90 minutes fit soon.
Shkelzen Gashi Back From Achilles Injury: Could Be 90 Minutes Fit Soon
Gashi was one of the biggest reasons for the Rapids having a successful 2016 season. His absence has been one of the laundry list of reasons 2017 has been a disasterous failure. Playoffs are all but mathematically impossible now for the Burgundy Boys. For now, the goal for the club and the player should just be to get back to full fitness so he can have a proper off-season. Fortunately for Gashi, he’s on the right track.
“I feel very good. Behind this week is a lot of hard work. After my hamstring, my calf, and my Achilles, it’s good to be back,” said Gashi after a recent training session prior to a home game against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Gashi hoped he could play in the match. He ended up starting and played 71 minutes.
“I was so happy after the game, not about the result. Just about my feeling, after my injury,” adding “the last two injuries were always in the 85-90 minutes. My body feels good, I can play more. Next game I hope I can go 90 minutes.”
While the season may be lost, Gashi is still hoping he can help the team progress and build for 2018. He’s helped the offense and believes his veteran presence will help bring a winning mentality.
Gashi started this past weekend at Dallas. He played 88 minutes, though there was almost a 90 minute break due to a lightning delay in the second half. Gashi had two shots and had some set piece responsibility.
Rapids Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni was conservative getting the DP midfielder back from injury. “He’s been doing a lot of work off the field for weeks. He’s been doing double sessions in a way that wouldn’t compromise his recovery.”
How he’ll use Gashi going forward in getting him back to full fitness will depend on the sitaution: “How that feels and what that looks like will depened on tactically how we want to approach the game and where he can make the biggest impact to our group. He’s proven over the course of the last couple weeks that he hasn’t had any reacuring symptoms to that injury.”
Unfortunately for Mastroeni and Gashi, the playoffs are all but a mathematical impossibility. Perhaps having him come back early could have helped the Rapids win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC or FC Dallas. That’s in the past now. What matters is getting Gashi ready for 2018 by getting him ready for the off-season. Get him ready for the off-season by getting him comfortable with playing (possibly 90 minutes) in the few games remaining.
Gashi didn’t end last season on a healthy note. Have him end 2017 on a positive individually and he’ll have a much better start to 2018.