Season done for LA's Leonardo after knee injury
CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy practiced at The Home Depot Center on Tuesday for the first time in 12 days and returned to the training grounds with a bit of good and bad news.
Landon Donovan was back with the team after having missed the entire three-game road trip. However, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena confirmed his initial grim prognosis of Leonardo, whom Arena officially ruled out for the season Tuesday.
“Those things happen," Arena said. "You can never understand why they happen. Unfortunately it’s all part of the game but we’re going to do everything we can to get him back on the field and work with him. I’m confident he will be back on the field with the Galaxy.”
Leonardo tore the anterior and lateral cruciate ligaments in his right knee at the dying moments of Sunday’s 2-1 win at Chicago. The Brazilian center back will undergo surgery in the coming week or so, Arena said.
The Galaxy were within seconds of closing out the match when Leonardo became tangled up with Patrick Nyarko. Leonardo crumbled to the ground in apparent pain but because the match was deep in stoppage time, team personnel were not allowed to tend to him.
“It was the last play of the game,” Arena said. “We thought it was serious but the referee wouldn’t let our trainer onto the field.”
Without Leonardo around, the team must turn to others to fill the role. Omar Gonzalez’s center back partner could be either Sean Franklin or A.J. DeLaGarza.
“We have cover there with Franklin and DeLaGarza, and the whole preseason we did that so they’ve been playing there throughout,” Arena said. “We didn’t want to predict an injury, but we said if we had an injury, we wanted to be prepared for that.”
Another player who could fill the void is Gregg Berhalter, who has yet to play this season. Arena said the veteran defender is two to three weeks away from full fitness. Berhalter spent the latter part of training Tuesday running lightly around the field and did not appear to be in any pain.
As for Donovan – who did not train with the team before the trip to DC – he ran through some drills with his teammates before going through some light drills on the side. Arena said he expects Donovan to be ready for Saturday’s match against Portland.