After nearly 10 months without competitive minutes, Chris Schuler is slated to make his return to action tonight with Real Monarchs as he shakes off his most extensive injury layoff to date.
In September, Schuler, 28, underwent a surgery on his left foot. The recovery time was initially slated to be four to six months — but it quickly became apparent that it would be longer than that before he saw the pitch. Some — myself included — even harbored some doubt that he'd return to the pitch at all. That was the severity of his injury concerns.
Around the time of the MLS Re-Entry Draft last year, Schuler's time in Salt Lake City seemed near a close — but after he wasn't selected during that process. As preseason came around, he continued rehabbing in the Salt Lake area, but no immediate news was forthcoming about his future with the organization.
Returning to Real Salt Lake for 2016 — at least for the start of it — seemed basically unfathomable. And a division drop seemed almost too much — he remains an extremely competent defender that, when fit, is easily one of the top center backs in the league.
But in mid-March, Schuler joined Real Monarchs, keeping himself with the broader Real Salt Lake organization, and giving the first team a greater chance at having him rejoin the group when he's fully fit.
Now, after being involved in full training for some weeks, and having even trained a bit with RSL, Schuler is starting his first match since July 11, 2015. How he fares tonight might just be a harbinger of his chances at getting back to MLS.