Joseph in fitness race for Revs home opener

Club captain missed first two matches with strained hip flexor

Shalrie Joseph, New England Revolution

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

During the course of his career in New England, Shalrie
Joseph has developed a reputation for playing through pain. 

Any time the Revolution midfield stalwart picked up a
niggling injury that may have sidelined another player, he worked through the
discomfort and played anyways. 

Joseph's ability to persevere only makes his current battle
with a right hip flexor strain all the more aggravating. The 31-year-old
midfielder missed the Revolution's first two games of the season with the knock
and said he wasn't pleased to settle into his role as a spectator as his team
started the campaign. 

“I've played all of these years with injuries, so not being
able to play in the season opener definitely hurt a little bit,” Joseph told
MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “I'm used to being out there and encouraging them
every day for practice and for the games. I feel like I've let them down.” 

Unlike many of the injuries Joseph has overcome, this
particular one requires rest and rehabilitation instead of determination and
grittiness. After picking up the injury during a training session on March 19
while the Revs were wrapping up a preseason trip to North Carolina, Joseph said
he had to sit and watch his teammates train and play as he recuperated.

“I couldn't even run,” Joseph said. “It was that painful and
sore that I couldn't run for a good ten days. It's just been the last four or
five days when I've been able to get back to running and training. The last
couple of days, I've been able to at least pass the ball 10 yards. It's
progress every day, you could say.”

As he continued along his path to recovery, Joseph
participated in a full training session on Thursday as his teammates prepared
for Toronto FC's visit on Saturday night. The 2009 MLS MVP finalist said he
hopes his progress reaches the point where he can make up for his absence by
featuring against the Reds. 

“This Saturday, I want to be there for [my teammates],
especially for our home opener,” Joseph said.