The window in the training room at Houston Sports Park provides a perfect view of the Houston Dynamo training pitch. For the first time in three months Tony Cascio is on the right side of that window.
The outside midfielder has been rehabbing and watching since having surgery on his torn right ACL on April 30. Last week that ended as he hit the field and started running and working with the ball and progressing towards what he hopes is a fast recovery.
“I don’t really have anything to compare it to but when they said six to nine months my mind immediately said 'shoot for the six and hopefully come back faster than that,'” Cascio told MLSsoccer.com Tuesday. “I kept messing with the trainers and saying I’m going to make the world’s fastest recovery. I think just putting that in the back of my head it might help. I don’t want to rush it … but I would love to come back as soon as possible; I just don’t want to push it.”
Cascio’s injury was tough to swallow for him and the club. He played well in preseason and earned a spot in the opening day starting XI. After showing promise through five games, he went in for a check-up on his knee and the ACL injury was found after he had played on it for several weeks. It was a blow to him and the team.
Since then, he has watched the team in the midst of an eight game winless streak and, until three weeks ago, were dressing as few as 16 players for games at times.
While he's still a long way off from helping on either of those fronts, his rehab is following his aggressive nature. He’s taken positive steps in his rehab have him thinking of a possible return. His running is increasing and he's working with the ball.
“His recovery’s been going great so far and he’s out here running at pace where you’re thinking ‘You’re crazy man,’” said forward Omar Cummings, who also played with Cascio as part of the Colorado Rapids in 2012. “You feel like maybe you’re rushing and maybe doing a few things too quickly. One of the worst things that can happen is for Tony to do all the hard work and come back and have it happen again.
“First meeting Tony as a rookie in Colorado you felt like he was a kid with no fear. The way he plays he goes for it and that’s the attitude Tony has and it’s been wonderful.”
There is no timetable for when he will be back, but getting Cascio in the fold would be a good sign for a team that has the option to extend his stay in Houston at the end of the season. For now, they’re just glad to see him out of the A/C and under the blazing Texas sun.
“We all know he’s still a ways from playing, but he’ll probably tell you he’s the happiest one of the bunch to get out here,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “It’s a step-by-step process the recoveries from these injuries and we want to make sure he’s getting the best care. I’m not really thinking that far ahead … If he can surprise us with a late season visit that’d be nice.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.