FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Sidelined for the past four games with an ankle injury, New England Revolution midfielder Emmanuel Boateng has returned to full training and is eager to get back on the field.
Boateng had registered two goals and two assists in his previous four appearances before suffering the injury in training, including a goal in his most recent appearance on September 11 while making his third start of the season in a 2-1 win over New York City FC.
“I went to block a pass and my whole ankle twisted, affected my knee a little bit, too,” Boateng said. “It’s just been frustrating being out for how well I was playing, but it’s good that I’ve stayed patient and worked really hard in rehab, and now I feel ready to go again.”
While the current 16-day break from league play has offered several players a chance to recharge, it hasn’t been a time of rest for Boateng, but instead an opportunity to rebuild fitness after an unwanted layoff. The 27-year-old winger was at the club’s training center every day, often training with Revolution II on days when the first team was off.
“When the guys were off, I was still training with the second team getting in some extra work,” said Boateng. “Basically, when you’re hurt here, there’s no off days. You just have to keep working as hard as you can to get back, so I feel good in the work that I’ve put in, and I feel ready.”
Boateng isn’t the only player nearing full health. Jon Bell recently returned after a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a pair of first-team appearances, while Maciel – who hasn’t featured in an MLS game since August – has gotten critical minutes with Revolution II as he regains his fitness.
With just five games left in the regular season and the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs looming next month, getting the squad fully healthy is a top priority for the Revolution.
“That’s important,” said assistant coach Richie Williams. “We want to make sure at the end of the season when the playoffs roll around, that we have a full squad. So we’ve got to make sure that we get guys fit that are coming back from injury, and that we don’t overtrain guys, or get guys injured in any way by playing them too much.
“That’s where the reserves come into play to help us with that balance. I think we’re coming into a good place right now and – knock on wood – that we can keep everybody healthy on the field.”