CARSON, Calif. – Ever steadily, LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan is working his way back to full fitness.
Donovan has missed the last four LA Galaxy matches due to a left hamstring strain that he suffered while on international duty during a friendly with the United States. The injury has limited Donovan’s training as of late, confining him to the weight room while his teammates train.
On Thursday, Donovan was back on the training ground, but was resigned to running around the field, keeping his fitness in line as he works on his return. Although the Galaxy captain is optimistic that he’ll return to full action soon, he admits there are limitations.
“I’m getting there, I still haven’t been able to train yet but the hope is that by sometime this weekend, we can train and the target is the Colorado game,” Donovan told reporters on Thursday. “It’s getting better; it just takes more time as you get older unfortunately.”
Donovan had initially targeted a return to action this week as he had hoped to participate in the U.S. national team for their pair of World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica. Ultimately, the nagging hamstring strain extinguished those plans forcing Donovan to target the September 14th game against the Colorado Rapids.
However, while Donovan has set his target for a return to action, head coach Bruce Arena is taking a cautious approach with his captain.
“He’s making his way back,” said Arena. “He’s not on the field yet, but he’s getting there.”
When Donovan returns to the Galaxy, he’ll have to integrate into an offense that has added yet another weapon in Swedish midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson. A winger that can play on either flank, Donovan admits that Wilhelmsson’s abilities as well as the current logjam in the Galaxy midfield will likely keep him up top for the foreseeable future.
“Probably,” Donovan admitted. “The good thing now is that we’re getting Edson [Buddle] back in the fold. Jose [Villarreal] played well, [Jack] played well in the game against Puerto Rico so we do have some depth at forward, but there’s a lot of players in the midfield vying for minutes and my guess is that I’ll be primarily used up top.”
However, Donovan admits that first he’ll have to get back to full fitness before he focuses on those concerns.
“We just take it day by day and see how it goes,” Donovan said of his injury. “Initially, I was hoping that I could be on the national team trip, but if it doesn’t happen then it doesn’t happen. You just have to keep going day by day.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider