TUCSON, Ariz. – As Saer Sene laid injured on the ground at Stade Saputo last October, his left ankle dislocated and his left fibula broken after falling under a heavy challenge from former Montreal Impact captain Davy Arnaud, one thought raced through his mind.
As fans of the New England Revolution are well aware, Sene spent the offseason between 2012 and 2013 rehabbing from reconstructive surgery on his right knee after suffering a torn ACL in August. A grueling seven-month recovery process kept him off the field until mid-April, when he returned with a string of substitute appearances.
But it wasn’t until September that Sene started to feel like himself again. The 27-year-old Frenchman was one of Major League Soccer’s hottest players that month, registering two goals and three assists in four matches as the Revs pushed toward the playoffs. Sene was back.
That’s what made his gruesome injury in the 18th minute of that Oct. 12 match at Stade Saputo even more gut-wrenching. After it had taken Sene a full year to claw his way back to the top of his game, he was on the shelf yet again, staring down another lengthy rehab stint.
“That was very hard for me. Very hard,” Sene said on Monday morning from the Revolution’s preseason camp in Tucson, Ariz. “I lay down on the ground, looked at my feet and said, ‘No, not now.’ But it happened and I have to accept the situation.
“I have so many dreams. I want to go as far as possible, have a lot of success in soccer and I was like, ‘I can’t stop here.’ I had to keep going, go through another surgery, work hard and come back.”
Sene said the most difficult part of the injury was the sense of helplessness as the Revolution went on a late-season run to the playoffs and a postseason meeting with eventual MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City. He was thrilled for his teammates’ success, but struggled to watch from the sidelines.
But when the season ended and he pondered another long road to recovery, Sene was actually comforted by his past experience, particularly since rehabbing from the ankle/leg injury was, as he put it, “less complicated” than recovering from a knee injury.
“It was less hard, I can say, because I knew the process,” Sene said. “I knew that it wasn’t bad like the knee … I needed some patience to wait a little bit, but I can say I had help from my family.”
Patience is starting to pay off for Sene. After remaining in Foxborough for the entire offseason to keep his rehab on track, he’s inching closer to a return every day. No date has been set as the Revs continue to monitor his progress day-by-day, but recently a loose timetable of six-to-eight weeks was discussed.
That doesn’t seem like an unreasonable goal considering Sene’s improvement. In recent days he’s joined his teammates for passing drills before working off to the side with strength and conditioning coach Nick Downing, and Sene said he hopes to add possession games to his routine in the near future.
More steps in the process still remain, but it won’t be long before Sene’s back on the field. And although he’s becoming something of an expert at rehabbing from injuries, he’s hoping once he is back on the field, that’s where he’ll stay.
“I hope to have more luck and not have any more injuries,” Sene said with a chuckle. “I hope that I’m done with the injuries now.”