FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – For a fleeting moment, Kelyn Rowe thought his left hamstring had simply cramped up in the closing stages of the March 22 home opener against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
But “it definitely wasn’t (a cramp),” Rowe lamented on Tuesday morning before working through a series of agility drills and mobility exercises with the Revolution’s athletic training staff.
Instead it was a hamstring strain, sidelining the young attacking midfielder for New England’s recent trips to face the San Jose Earthquakes and D.C. United. Rowe’s progress has been steady as he eyes a swift return to the field, but he’s also being as cautious as possible so as not to suffer a setback.
“It’s coming along,” Rowe said, unable to pin down a targeted return date. “I don’t know how fast or how slow it’s been; it’s obviously been slow from my [perspective]. I want it to be as fast as possible, but I also don’t want to reinjure it and have it be a chronic thing.”
Rowe admits he’s had to be smart in heeding the caution of the Revolution’s coaches and athletic trainers, who’ve encouraged him to work through the recovery process and resist the urge to push the injury too hard, too quickly. Especially since this is Rowe’s second hamstring ailment this season.
Right hamstring tightness kept Rowe on the bench for the Revolution’s trip to Philadelphia on March 15, before he returned to the field against Vancouver the following weekend. But Rowe believes he subconsciously favored his sore right hamstring that day, which may have contributed to straining the left.
“It was something that I didn’t even think I was doing,” Rowe said. “It was something that mentally I just happened to do because my right [hamstring] was so tight. It was so sore that I used my left a lot, which isn’t common for me because my left foot is usually just a peg leg; it’s usually there just to stand on.”
Watching from the sidelines or on television is always agonizing for Rowe, but it’s been particularly difficult for the dynamic playmaker to sit idly by while his team struggles to generate goals. The Revs have scored just twice through their first five games en route to a 1-3-1 start to the campaign.
Patience is still required, however, to prevent a short-term injury from developing into a long-term ailment.
“Missing two games or three games isn’t as bad as missing two or three months,” Rowe said. “So I’m kind of just biting the bullet and hoping to be back as soon as possible.”