FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution and Juan Agudelo both want the same thing: Agudelo back on the field as quickly as possible.
But before the 20-year-old forward returns to action, he needs to get completely healthy.
It’s been four weeks now since Agudelo suffered a sprained right knee in the dying stages of the Revolution’s U.S. Open Cup loss to D.C. United, and he’s progressing each and every day. The athletic training staff’s job is to make sure Agudelo is progressing at the right pace, however, and not pushing himself beyond his limits at the risk of suffering a setback.
“With Juan, it’s really about being smart, because he’s going to push,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “If you give him an inch, he’s going to take a yard. Our training staff is doing an excellent job with Juan. Of course we want him back as soon as we can. He’s a key player for us and we know that, the guys know that. Getting him back as soon as we can is one thing, but getting him back as soon as we can at full strength is the most important thing.”
Agudelo hasn’t yet rejoined his teammates on the training field, but he has returned to fitness activities inside the weight room and has responded well to every new step in his recovery. For now, caution remains the key word, even as he gets closer and closer to a full return.
“With Juan, we don’t want to push him too quickly, too soon,” said Heaps. “He’s starting to get back into things a little bit more in terms of his fitness and everything, but he’s still a little bit away.”
Sene back at “full strength” after missing last week’s two-game road trip
Saer Sene scored the Revolution’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo on July 13, but he finished that game worse for wear after having an already-existing hip injury exacerbated by the Dynamo’s physical treatment.
Heaps expressed his disappointment that certain players – including Sene – weren’t protected by the referee in that game, but the damage was done as the French winger was unable to travel for last week’s two-game swing through Colorado and Columbus.
The Revs actually considered bringing Sene in just for the Crew game – as they did with Chris Tierney – but decided instead another weekend of rest was the proper course to get him back to 100 percent.
“He took a good couple days to get set,” Heaps said. “We felt like maybe we were going to bring him down to Columbus, but we couldn’t because he was just too sore. But this week he’s back in training and he’s at full strength.”
McCarthy cleared to return after sitting out Crew game for precautionary reasons
You don’t mess with head injuries. That was the Revolution’s stance this past weekend as Stephen McCarthy missed the club’s 2-0 win over the Crew after suffering a head laceration in the midweek loss to the Rapids.
McCarthy was with the Revolution in Columbus and could’ve played in Saturday night’s dramatic victory, but considering the defender’s past with head injuries – he wears protective headgear during games – and the availability of A.J. Soares to deputize in central defense, the Revs took a cautious approach with McCarthy’s return.
“I thought A.J. came in and did a nice job,” said Heaps. “With Macca, you just don’t want to jump. He’d already had something earlier this year, so you’ve just got to be smart when it comes to heads … You’ve just got to be careful when a guy’s got a four or five inch gash on his head from an elbow.”
After resting this past weekend, McCarthy returned to full training on Tuesday morning and is expected to be available for the upcoming trip to visit D.C. United this Saturday night.