Will LA trio heal before second leg of Conference Championship?

Juninho, Donovan, Buddle aiming to be healthy for Sunday; Galaxy teammates prepared regardless

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Photo Credit: 
Robert Mora / LA Galaxy

CARSON, Calif. — The Galaxy came out of Sunday's Western Conference Championship opener a little banged up, with Landon Donovan and Juninho joining forward Edson Buddle on the training table.

Juninho departed at halftime of the 3-0 victory over Seattle with an Achilles' injury and Landon Donovan left in the 82nd minute with a tight hamstring.

Buddle, who was hurt during Wednesday's conference semifinal victory at San Jose and departed Saturday's training session early, walking gingerly to the locker room, was left off the 18-man game roster with an apparent knee injury. The availabilities for all for the second leg next weekend in Seattle will be determined later this week.

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Head coach Bruce Arena described the injuries to Juninho and Buddle as “knocks” and said Donovan's injury was “more a cramp than anything else.”

Said Donovan: “I felt my hamstring tighten up a little bit, so we'll see ...  I just took off to run and felt it grab a little bit. I wanted to be safe and get out of there.”

He expected to receive treatment and perhaps tests on Monday, the first of two off-days before the Galaxy resume on-field work Wednesday.

Juninho aggravated a previous Achilles' injury near the end of the first half and was pulled off in favor of Marcelo Sarvas.

“We wanted to be smart,” Arena said in his postgame news conference. “Marcelo is a very experienced player, a quality player, and it's a luxury in that position to be able to utilize him there. Maybe if we didn't have that kind of depth, we would have kept [Juninho] in a little bit more.”

How worrisome are these injuries with the Galaxy just 90 minutes from their third MLS Cup title game appearance in four years?

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“I think we've got a great medical staff here, so they’ll do everything possible to get every one of the players and any knocks that we’ve got ready,” midfielder David Beckham said. “But we’ve had that most of the season, and we’ve had players that have stepped in. Edson played a great game in San Jose, for 60 minutes, and then obviously came off and missed tonight, but hopefully he’ll be ready for next week. If he’s not, then we’ve got players that will step in and do the job.

“But we can’t worry about injuries too much,” he added. “At this stage of the season, players are going to pick up niggles, players are going to pick up injuries. It’s just about coming together as a squad. We did it last year, and we saw what happened last year. So we need to do it again.”