AJ DeLaGarza reveals knee tear, aims for playoff return
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — A.J. DeLaGarza has some very good news, relatively speaking: He will miss only a month or so because of the knee injury he picked up in the LA Galaxy's loss Sunday at Colorado. His aim: Be ready by playoff time.
“I expected the worst but was hopeful for the best,” the fourth-year center back said Monday evening at a launch party for Time Warner Cable's new regional sports networks. “Glad I'm not missing a couple of months or I don't have to have surgery. That's a positive. Same time, it's end of the season, and you want to be in there with the guys at this time.”
DeLaGarza, who was on crutches, was hurt after he and Rapids forward Omar Cummings hit legs in a fight for a ball near the Galaxy's end line about a half-hour into the 1-1 draw at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. DeLaGarza was stretchered off the field, then carried to the locker room, careful not to put weight on his left leg.
He underwent tests on Monday in Southern California and had learned the results before joining teammates and Los Angeles Lakers players on the red carpet outside Time Warner's LA headquarters a few miles south of LAX.
DeLaGarza was reluctant to report the diagnosis — “I don't know if it's [officially been released], so guess I can't really say” — but confirmed there was a small tear. The Galaxy plans to announce the diagnosis Tuesday after communications officials speak with the club's medical staff.
The 24-year-old said he knew the injury was potentially major as soon as it happened, that he'd “never felt anything like that” and that he's “used to having bone bruises; I could tell it wasn't a bone bruise.”
“I knew I was hurt. I didn't know how bad,” he said. “I didn't think it was something little, but I didn't think it was something major. I prayed that it wasn't something major. To miss a month or so, I'll take it. I think the playoffs start in early November. That's my goal for right now.”
Omar Gonzalez, DeLaGarza's backline partner, said he was ecstatic to learn the injury wasn't as bad as feared.
“I know what it's like to be out six months,” said Gonzalez, who missed the first half of the season while rehabilitating a torn anterior cruciate ligament. “I'm happy it was only a month.
“The good thing is it's a month long, and he'll be back before you know it, and we just have to hold down the fort until he comes back. Hopefully, we can get past the first round of the playoffs, and then maybe he can step in and do what he's used to.”
Scott French covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com.