FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Three months after officially rejoining the New England Revolution for a second stint, Shalrie Joseph is nearing full health and a long-awaited return to the field.
Joseph – whose recovery from a lingering calf strain has been stalled by what head coach Jay Heaps called “pretty significant” setbacks – has joined his teammates for full training sessions in recent days, and his progress has seen him upgraded to “questionable” on the official injury report.
The upcoming bye weekend offers the perfect chance for Joseph to continue working himself back into shape, and Heaps is hopeful that the Revolution’s all-time leader in games played (261), games started (254) and minutes played (22,867) will be available to provide guidance and leadership throughout the final 12 games of the regular season – and hopefully the playoffs.
“We’re still day-by-day with Shalrie and we’re still assessing after every training, but this is the most days in a row he’s been able to put together,” said Heaps. “We’re hoping to get him back to add a little bit of grit, a little bit of senior leadership to a young team.
“Even though we had some good game experience last year, we’re still young. Twenty-three years of age as the average age of a starting lineup in this league is young. So when you add a little bit of experience to that, that’s always good.”
The average age of New England’s starting lineup has dropped in the absence of veterans Andy Dorman (32) and Chris Tierney (28), both of whom are currently sidelined by knee injuries. While Joseph has been labeled as “day-by-day,” Heaps said the duo of Dorman and Tierney is “more week-to-week.”
Both players would play critical roles in the Revolution’s playoff push upon a return to full health, but as eager as the Revs are to regain their services, caution is the key word in their recoveries.
“We don’t want to push those guys too much, because those are the knee injuries that are reoccurring in the game of soccer all the time,” said Heaps. “We have to be careful.”