Javier Morales appears to have undergone a very successful surgery following the horrific injury he sustained on Saturday and Dr. Cooper (team physician) stated that an October return may still be possible. While this is definitely good news for both Javi and RSL, there is also the potential for wanting to return too early just to get back in action during a critical part of the season and not being at 100%.
Three questions arise in my mind about a potential Morales return in October:
1. What should Javi target as a potential return date?
2. What should be the team attitude toward a potential Javi return?
3. What should fan expectations be toward a potential Javi return?
My thoughts on these after the jump:1. Javi should target the October 14 game against Colorado.
There are three regular season games in October: the 1st (at LA), the 14th (at Colorado) and the 22nd (vs Portland). Unless Javi develops Wolverine-like healing ability, the 1st is extremely unlikely to be a return date, and at the Home Depot Center against the Galaxy, might be too difficult a test for a return from injury this severe. Against the Timbers would be a good return date, but only provide one game prior to the playoffs, which might not be enough to shake off rust. Coming back against Colorado, in the 2nd leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup, would just add that much more to the rivalry.
However, while a target goal, Javi should not succumb to what I will call "Charlie Davies Syndrome" which I will explain more in the fan expectation section.
2. The team should plan on being without Javi for the rest of the season and the playoffs.
Far too much can go wrong during rehab to plan on Javi returning. The most prudent approach would be to figure out what to do at attacking midfielder (Andy, Warner, Alvarez, a combination, whatever) and plan on that for the rest of the season. If Javi makes it back, so much the better, but if he’s not ready, he’s not ready.
3. Fans should want Javi back against Colorado as well, but not get overly optimistic.
We too should want Javi back as soon as possible. However, we are also susceptible to Charlie Davies Syndrome (CDS). CDS developed when, after his horrendous accident, Charlie targeted the World Cup as a return date to soccer. His tweets gave him (and the more optimistic USMNT supporters) hope that all would be well for the World Cup and he would put the country on his back, single-handedly defeat Mother England and lead the Stars and Stripes to glory and the World Cup title. For those of you who were in a coma last June, that didn’t happen.
In our case, we should want Javi back when he’s completed rehab and he’s ready. If it happens in October, wonderful. If it takes until the playoffs, it takes that long. If he’s not ready until next season, that’s tough but that’s life. Javi is going to be pushing as hard as he can to be back, but if he doesn’t make it he doesn’t make it. Unnecessarily risking further injury just to play at the end of a season (and not at 100%) isn’t worth it.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.