Simms hopeful of return this weekend in Toronto

Midfielder on the verge of comeback after being sidelined for a month

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – An important piece of the New England Revolution’s midfield puzzle is set to rejoin the fold as Clyde Simms nears a return from the left ankle injury which has kept him sidelined for the past month.

Simms hasn’t featured with the first team since May 12 as he’s missed the past four games with a bout of tendonitis, but the central midfielder played 24 minutes with the reserves in last weekend’s 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew and suffered no adverse effects.

“[The ankle] was strong,” said Simms. “It didn’t get any worse. It was a little sore the next day, but that’s something we’ll have to coordinate with the trainers and get a good schedule down. But as long as I’m pain-free during the game, I’m fine with being sore afterwards.”

That’s welcome news for Revs head coach Jay Heaps, who named Simms in his starting lineup for the first 10 games of the season before losing him to injury. Particularly with fellow central midfielder Shalrie Joseph currently nursing an adductor strain – the Revolution captain was listed as “out” on the midweek injury report – Simms’ impending return takes on added importance.

“He’s someone we’ve missed a lot,” said Heaps. “Shalrie was not 100 percent at the end of that (Columbus) game and he had to fight through, and not having someone that can fill in that role or someone with that kind of put-out-the-fire mentality, it’s hard. It limits your choices as a coach.”

Simms is hopeful he could be an option for Heaps as soon as this weekend when the Revs visit Toronto FC.

“That’s what we’re looking at right now,” Simms said after Wednesday’s training session. “It felt strong in the reserve game, I got some good minutes out there today in training and it feels strong. So I think we’re going to see how I feel in the morning. I think that’s the key; how I feel the next day. We’ll see what I’m able to do [on Thursday] and then go from there.”

If Simms is able to feature at BMO Field, he’s unconcerned about his fitness level despite missing an extended spell. Although he spent the first week on crutches and just recently returned to running, Simms credits a series of intense bike workouts, elliptical training and weight lifting with helping maintain his fitness during the injury.

“I actually feel really strong out there,” he said. “I feel strong with my first step and everything, so all that’s good. But I think just getting some minutes in the game is going to get my endurance back up. I think it’ll come quick, because I was in pretty good shape before getting injured.”