FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Most of the time, getting out of bed on Monday morning is a struggle. But this past Monday, Kelyn Rowe had no such difficulties, strolling into the New England Revolution locker room 30 minutes early.
That’s because, as he put it, he was finally going to “play the real soccer ball with [his] soccer friends.”
Rowe, who has missed the past eight games with a right knee sprain, has been a full participant in training early this week; no limitations, no different colored training bib, just full-on soccer.
It’s a pretty good reason to bounce out of bed on a Monday morning.
“I was buzzing around like it was no one’s business,” Rowe said. “I was the happiest kid. I was a kid at Disneyland on Christmas morning.”
Rowe’s excitement, however, couldn’t disguise the fact that he’d been sidelined for almost two months – the longest injury absence of his professional career – and his fitness had taken a hit in the process.
While he credited head athletic trainer Evan Allen and assistant athletic trainer Phil Madore with keeping him as fit as possible, Rowe admitted that the nature of his injury prevented him from staying in top shape while on the sidelines.
“It’s hard sitting out a long period of time, and because it was my knee, I couldn’t really do much, so I lost a little bit of fitness,” Rowe said. “I’m working back from some fitness, but it feels good.”
With just two games left on the regular-season schedule – at home on Sunday vs. New York City FC and at the Montreal Impact next weekend – Rowe still has his sights set on a 2017 return, although the Revolution’s elimination from playoff contention does factor into his recovery timeline.
“I can’t sit on the bench any longer or just sit in the stands. It’s hard for me as a player,” Rowe said. “I’m just taking it one step at a time, and obviously we’re being cautious now that there’s no mathematical chance for us to be in the playoffs. We don’t want to push it too much.
“But me, mentally, I want to go as fast as I can. Hopefully I get on the field before the season ends.”