CARSON, Calif. – Todd Dunivant is back to full-time training with the LA Galaxy, running side to side with no problems, making quick cuts with no hesitation and not being afraid to even do a little yelling.
The 33-year-old left back said he feels great after having surgery in May to repair a torn abdominal muscle he suffered during a 3-0 victory over Chivas USA on April 6.
There was a time when Dunivant, now in his 12th MLS season, couldn’t do much of anything. Coughing, he said, was frowned upon. Sneezing, too. Even laughing. Raising his voice? Not a good idea.
Such was the recovery process he faced.
“I couldn’t walk on the beach because it’s an uneven surface,” he said. “Literally I was that inactive, which for an athlete is complete torture.
“I was doing that for six weeks.”
But now he’s back working out with the first team. He was on the game-day roster for last Saturday’s 3-1 victory over the Portland Timbers and is expected to play with Galaxy II in Saturday’s USL PRO match against Arizona United SC at StubHub Center. Dunivant admitted he has a long way to go before he regains the form that made him one of MLS’ most respected left backs and estimated his fitness is between 75-80 percent.
“Hopefully I can tick that up a little bit this weekend,” he said.
He still vividly remembers the fateful play. It was the 75th minute of the Chivas game when he went to play a ball toward the middle of the field. He said he changed his mind at the last second and sent a quick, little pass to Leonardo when he “just felt it snap.”
Dunivant said his abdominal area had been bothering him in training during the week and it felt sore and tight during the game.
“It felt like somebody had put a knife in there,” he said. “I knew right away. I didn’t know the severity of it and I thought maybe it was a strain, but it turned out to be way worse.”
He initially tried to let the injury heal by itself, but progress was minimal, at best, and surgery was deemed necessary.
“The good news is the surgery was really successful and doctors think I’ll be stronger than before,” he said. “Now it’s just a matter of getting fit.”
Not to mention getting his starting position back, which could be a problem. Robbie Rogers has performed well in his old spot and was named to the latest mlssoccer.com team of the week.
Dunivant said he’s been impressed with the performance of Rogers, a converted midfielder who has started six of the last eight games.
“He’s a good player, and good players are good players for a reason,” Dunivant said. “It’s been great to have him step up. That’s what you need when guys go down with injuries. You need players to step up, and we’ve had that throughout the years.
“We’ve been a successful team because we are deep.”
Dunivant said he isn’t worried that he may be getting left behind as Rogers continues to improve. Head coach Bruce Arena said that isn’t a concern, either.
“We haven’t forgotten about him,” Arena said.
Added Dunivant, “There’s no need to hold my hand through the whole thing. I know how the process goes. When I’m ready I think it will be pretty obvious not only to myself but it will be obvious to Bruce and the team and everyone. That’s what it’s all about, getting fit and ready.
“We’re going to continue to push each other in training; the whole group is going to continue to move forward. We’re all in this together. We’re wining as a team and there’s a reason for that.”