For the first time in seven months, Calen Carr was back in training.
The Houston Dynamo's lone goalscorer at MLS Cup 2012 participated in training for the first time on Tuesday, lining up in a series of non-contact drills with the first team. His return to the field is a great sign for a player who has spent the past eight months looking forward to the day when he could stop watching his teammates through a window and get back to playing and being a part of the action on the field.
“It’s just nice to come outside at the same time as the guys,” Carr told MLSsoccer.com. “I think I definitely need a couple of more weeks to work on my physicality as far as fitness and strength … and then integrate into full training. From there, I hope will be another couple of weeks to get in the groove to be available for selection.”
Carr’s return is the latest step in his recovery from an ACL injury suffered in last year’s MLS Cup. The injury has sidelined the pacey attacker and put him through yet another round of having to work back from a major injury.
In March, Carr told MLSsoccer.com that he was targeting a late summer return. His involvement in Tuesday’s session is a step in that direction.
“I think [my] timetables are a little fluid because step one is getting into full training and step two is getting prepared to play in a game,” Carr added. “I think the first phase is really hard and then the last phase is really hard because you’re close, but you understand that you have a distance to go. As you get that inch that last distance is still frustrating.”
With Carr working his way back, he could add another dimension to a Dynamo club that will have to get creative to make summer moves as they are operating up against the salary cap. And that will begin to matter quite a bit with a full slate of CCL games coming up.
“It’s been good to see him on the side and getting closer,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “We’re not going to rush him because we do need him. August is going to be a heavy, heavy month as far as games go. Hopefully, come that time around he’s not just participating, but he’s playing in games.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.