FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Edgar Castillo didn’t think much of the collision that forced him off the field in the 88th minute of the New England Revolution’s 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls on August 17.
I probably just got the wind knocked out of me, he thought.
But when Castillo had difficulty breathing later that evening and into the following morning, he was sent to the hospital for an X-ray, and the results provided something of a shock.
Two broken ribs and a punctured lung.
The severity of the injury forced Castillo to miss the final eight games of the regular season, but now – almost two months since that collision at Red Bull Arena – the veteran defender is back in full training and maintains an outside shot at being ready for Saturday’s playoff opener at Atlanta United FC.
“It feels good to get back on the field and do some running,” Castillo said on Tuesday morning, unable to contain the smile on his face. “I’ve been training now 100 percent with the team, but I’m not fully fit. I don’t feel 100 percent, but I’m back getting some training in.”
Castillo is in a fight against time as the Revs depart for Atlanta on Thursday afternoon ahead of Saturday’s 1 p.m. kickoff at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. While admitting that he’d love to be available for the postseason, Castillo is also realistic about where he is physically after a lengthy layoff.
“I do. I do,” Castillo said when asked if he still has his sights set on the weekend. “I hope I get to get some playing time, but I don’t feel fit. I’m not 100 percent. So that depends on Bruce (Arena).
“I’m happy for the guys that we made the playoffs and we’re on a good run. For me, being on the side and watching them, who doesn’t want to be on the field playing? But I’m trying to do my best, trying to get fit, and trying to get back.”
Jalil Anibaba and DeJuan Jones have filled in at left back in the absence of Castillo, who started 20 of the Revolution’s first 26 games before his injury. Whoever fills that role on Saturday will have a significant task dealing with right wingback Julian Gressel, who had one goal and two assists in Atlanta’s 3-1 win over the Revs on Decision Day two weeks ago.
“It’s different,” Castillo said of the playoffs. “It’s going to be a tight game going down there. We already played them – they beat us 3-1 – but it’s a whole different game. It’s a playoff game. It’s do-or-die. If we play a perfect game, we have a good chance of going to the next round.”