CARSON, Calif. – Since David Beckham tore his Achilles tendon in mid-March, his focus has been on rehabilitating the injury and trying to come back for a portion of the 2010 MLS season.
When he re-joined the Los Angeles Galaxy, both club and player tried to get him back onto the field quickly but cautiously.
Now that he has one game under his belt, the focus will change.
Barring an unforeseen setback, Beckham should be in the mix for the Galaxy’s next match, on Saturday against D.C. United. Beckham, who played 20 minutes in the Galaxy’s 3-1 win over Columbus Saturday, may or may not start but the club hopes to put him on that track soon.
“The way we want to go is to increase his minutes obviously,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “Before the end of the regular season, we want him playing 90 minutes and we’re going to have to take it day by day, week by week.”
If the decision to start were up to Beckham and Beckham alone, he would have penciled himself into the starting XI.
“I thought I was ready for 90 minutes four months ago, but I think at the end of the day I still have to take my time being eased into games,” Beckham said. “I feel I could have played 90 minutes [last Saturday], but after being out there 10 minutes I was dying. I felt good after that and I finished strong so I was happy with that.”
While months of work to rehabilitate his injury were challenging and provided many obstacles, now that he’s back his workload has not decreased at all. In fact, for the 20 minutes he spent out on the field, he put in quite a bit of work beforehand to prepare adequately.
WATCH: Beckham returns to the field
“From the first kick of the game I was ready to get on, but with this injury and the seriousness of it, I have to keep it warm, I have to keep it going,” he said. “I was here three hours before the game and doing a lot of stuff and warming it up.
"There’s a lot of hard work before you actually get on the field, so I probably did about two and a half hours of warming up in the gym. It takes a lot of time getting ready and keeping it warm.”
To have a player of Beckham’s caliber healthy and available for duty will likely prove invaluable as the Galaxy try to stave off Columbus, Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas in the race for the Supporters' Shield and a possible return trip to MLS Cup.
Already, though, Beckham has done much to boost team morale and confidence, even with just playing a minuscule amount of the regular season.
“David’s presence helps our team; it helps our team in the locker room, the training field and on game day,” Arena said. “It’s kind of remarkable he’s back on the field in a short period of time. Sept. 15 is six months (from the original injury).
"At his age, to put in the kind of effort to come back, and for the players to see that, I think it’s an inspiration for the team. We’re hopeful we can continue to move forward for the remaining five to six weeks of the regular season, and hopefully for playoff time he’ll be sharp.”
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