COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The Colorado Rapids have had an eventful off-season and start to the regular season. They had a slow start to the year with a number of injuries and players arriving after the start of preseason. With a few exceptions, the Colorado Rapids injury woes appear to be coming to an end as players are near full fitness.
Colorado Rapids Injury Updates: Healthy and Fit Bodies on the way
Here’s the full record of all the players who haven’t been at 100% in the last few weeks:
Kortne Ford sprained his MCL early last month during a team scrimmage. He was projected to miss 8-10 weeks. Shkelzen Gashi and Stefan Aigner had knocks in the preseason that have delayed their integration into the squad. After recovering from a calf injury early in the preseason, Gashi hurt his other calf. Aigner had to travel to Germany during CONCACAF Champions League to get his green card status secured and also was sick for 10 days during preseason.
In a recent match against Philadelphia Union, Marlon Hairston and Danny Wilson had to be subbed out for injuries. Hairston had minor surgery on his right knee and was expected to miss 2-3 weeks. Few details have been released on Wilson’s condition. When the trainer checked on him just before halftime, they appeared to be focusing on Wilson’s lower right leg. Neither played in last Saturday’s match at FC Dallas.
Jack McBean and Enzo Martinez have been limited in practice at times over the past two weeks. McBean was dealing with concussion-like symptoms after the season opener at New England Revolution.
Now, what does all this mean for the squad selection on Saturday and beyond?
Wait and see on some key players:
Ford has not been a regular in team training since his injury. He’s continued to make progress, but this is just the fifth week of his rehab. He’s still a ways away but appears to be on schedule. He could return to the squad by month’s end.
Hudson told Last Word on Soccer today that Hairston is “still a little bit away on his rehab.” This is the second of his reported 2-3 week recovery period. It looks like he’ll need the full three weeks to get back to full health.
“Danny [Wilson] is day-to-day really. We’ve got to see how he progresses over the next few days. We want to try and push him into getting ready for Saturday, but we’ll see,” said Hudson after training on Tuesday.
There’s been no official word on the injury in question for the Scotsman, nor a timeline. Wilson’s availability could be a matchday decision. Given the historical tendencies of both Hudson and the Rapids training staff, they’ll probably be cautious.
Prediction: Ford and Hairston are definitely out for the Toronto FC match. Right now, Wilson would probably be listed as questionable. He’s probably more likely than not to sit out this weekend. Axel Sjoberg has been good the last two games in his place, so center back is the least of Hudson’s worries.
Shkelzen Gashi and Yannick Boli have been fully participating in training for over a week now. This will be the second full week since Boli arrived in Commerce City. Gashi has slowly been making progress this month.
“The last ten days were more practice with the team, then ‘how do you feel after practice?’ You have to manage your body. Now I feel much stronger. I know the body is good,” Gashi said Tuesday afternoon.
The Albanian International went on to say he doesn’t need to be checked by the medical staff after training as much. He’s now been given the freedom to push himself and see how his body reacts to being truly tested in practice.
“When I found out I have no limits, I can go crazy every practice. I feel better. I feel much stronger.”
Boli and Gashi have yet to see the field for the Burgundy Boys in 2018. They both could be ready for a field test soon. Boli is clearly a striker to Hudson, but Gashi’s role has yet to become obvious. He’s played a few different roles in training. Right now, he just wants to get into a match.
“I want to just be on the field. When you’re injured, you just want to get back. I just want to help the team.”
The coaching staff plans to check in with Gashi at the end of the week to see where he is at physically. That should decide whether he’ll be in the lineup for Saturday. Hudson listed him as “close” and “available for selection.”
Aigner made his season debut against the Union, but was not in the 18 at Dallas. He hasn’t been as involved in training as Boli and Gashi over the last week.
“Aigner’s physically getting stronger and progressing. [He’s] available for selection,” said Hudson.
Prediction: The next step for all three of them is getting playing time. They need a runout to get fully fit. Expect all of them to be ready for Saturday, but don’t count on any of them going 90 minutes. Who plays and for how long probably comes down to in-game decisions from the coaching staff, not the medical staff. I think Aigner starts and goes 60 minutes while Boli comes off the bench.
After not being 100% the last few weeks, Enzo Martinez and Jack McBean appear to be good to go. They’ve both been fully present in practice. McBean was on the bench in Dallas, so he isn’t under concussion protocol. Martinez is back and ready as well.
Hudson said “to be honest, we could have pushed [Martinez] to play Saturday, but it was a big risk. It was a risk we didn’t want to take. We could [have] potentially lost him for four or five. Having given him the weekend off, more rehab, he’s in a good place now. He’s fully recovered and available for Saturday,” Tuesday afternoon.
Prediction: Expect both to be available for selection on Saturday. I think Martinez will be on the bench at the very least. Given the health of the other forwards, don’t expect McBean to be in the 18.
Last Word: Eric Miller
Quietly, Eric Miller’s been working on the side during training due to an undisclosed issue. He’s been present in training but at times has been working on his own during team drills or scrimmages. Last week, Hudson said he’s “close to being back in a couple of days.”
Miller has still been training on his own at times this week as well.
Prediction: If Eric Miller isn’t available for selection this weekend, he certainly will be for the next game.