Andrew Driver’s right calf has relegated him to a spectator’s role for much of the Houston Dynamo stretch run.
But finally back to health, the winger is ready to get back in the thick of things, and it couldn’t come at a better time.
“It’s been a bit of a nightmare coming down to the business end of the season and missing some of these games,” Driver told reporters on Monday. “These are the games as a player you want to be involved. I’m just happy to be back and ready to contribute to the team the rest of the season.”
Driver’s calf has kept him out since he suffered the injury against the Columbus Crew on Sept. 4. Since then, he has worked to get back on the field, taking a pragmatic approach to make sure he didn’t make a mistake in rushing his recovery.
“I think that’s been the case in the past where I’ve been overeager and wanted to get back too fast,” Driver said.
Driver made a brief cameo to help see out a 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact last Friday that vaulted Houston to third in the Eastern Conference. After getting time in the Reserve League game on Saturday, his confidence is high heading into the team's midweek matchup against Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. CT; TICKETS).
“Having him available for this game is a big bonus,” head coach Dominic Kinnear told the media Monday. “It’s nice when you look down there and see him and knowing he’s available, it’s helpful.”
That does not mean, however, he’s a lock to start on the right side. Kinnear has other options, including rookie Jason Johnson, to consider on the right wing.
Despite not being a hard line choice to take the place of Boniek García (international duty), Driver’s ready if he gets the call.
“You don’t lose it overnight,” Driver said. “I’ve been involved for like four days where everything’s been good and sharp so you get it back pretty quickly. I’ll give it my all and give it my 100 percent. If I do contribute and play well that’s good for us.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.