CARSON, Calif. – For the first time this season, the LA Galaxy are approaching full fitness and on Wednesday, LA welcomed back yet another player from injury.
Center back Andrew Boyens participated in his first full training session with the club on Wednesday since being placed on the disabled list due to a sports hernia on May 18th. Boyens, who has made four appearances in all competitions this season, has not yet been activated from the disabled list, but appeared fresh during his first full practice.
“I’m still not a hundred percent, but it feels great to be out with the team and feeling the grass under my feet again,” Boyens said. “[Rehab has] been good, you always feel like it’s too slow as a player because you want to be back quicker, but it’s important that you take the right steps and come back as strong and as fit as you are when you’re ready.”
Since undergoing the surgery, Boyens has taken part in a rigorous rehabilitation process that has left him separated from his teammates, something that the former New Zealand international admits has been challenging at times.
“I’ve been rehabbing a lot, a lot of it has been strengthening and increasing my range of motion,” said Boyens. “Really it’s just getting the muscles that broke down during the surgery to re-ignite and get strong again. It takes a lot of work and it’s a lonely time, but to get back on the field makes it all worth it.”
Boyens has enjoyed considerable support during his recovery, particularly from fellow defender Todd Dunivant, who underwent a similar procedure during the 2011 offseason.
“I’ve been in that position where you’re rehabbing and you’re on your own and running around the field and it does get lonely,” said Dunivant. “It’s great for him and good for us; he’s another big body that we need back there that’s going to help us down the line."
When Boyens makes his return to the field, he’ll face stiff competition for playing time with a Galaxy defensive corps that is as healthy as it has been all season. With Omar Gonzalez making his return earlier this month from offseason ACL surgery and improving play from the likes of AJ DeLaGarza and David Junior Lopes, Boyens will face an uphill climb to earn minutes.
However, the five-year MLS veteran relishes the chance to fight for a spot—but only once he’s fit and ready.
“They definitely are, but it’s a little early for that and I still have a couple of weeks of training and getting my body back to full fitness before I worry about that stuff,” said Boyens. “But, it’s nice to have people fit again and to have the competition for spots increasing. It makes the team better as a whole and as we progress into the second half of the season, that’s going to happen.”
Although Boyens admits that he’s “at least a couple of weeks away” from fighting for a spot in the squad, he has set a clear target for his potential return.
“I’m hoping in our next reserve game to get a good run out and try to play 90 minutes in that game,” Boyens said. “That’s the plan and from there on, I should be open and available for selection.”