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Bravo inches closer to Sporting KC return

Omar Bravo

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — While Omar Bravo is right on schedule regarding his recovery from sports hernia surgery, he remains unlikely to be ready for action this weekend against the LA Galaxy.

After working individually with team trainers this week, Bravo is scheduled to ratchet up the intensity on Wednesday and Thursday as the coaching staff evaluates his fitness ahead of Sporting KC’s trip to Los Angeles on Saturday.

The Mexican forward said he feels somewhere around 70 percent since the procedure last month. However, Sporting head coach Peter Vermes will likely take a cautious approach with his Designated Player to mitigate any long-term effects.

“There’s a chance for him to be available this weekend,” Vermes said. “I kind of see it as a long shot. I see it more as Seattle [on May 21] would be the real opportunity. I’ve seen crazier things happen though. He moves well.”

Though his head coach predicts long odds for a weekend return, Bravo is clearly itching to get back after almost five weeks out of commission. To exascerbate the frustration from his injury, Bravo only managed to play a little more than a full game (122 minutes) in league action after scoring twice against Chivas USA and receiving an early red card against Chicago.

Bravo said it’s been tough to be relegated to the sidelines while his teammates struggle though a tough slate of games and negative results, but he remains realistic about his body’s capabilities at this point in his recovery.

“I haven’t played in practically a month,” Bravo said. “My heart says yes, and my body says more or less. It’s important to play to get that rhythm for the game. Working toward the Galaxy game is a good chance for me to see where I stand.”

Like Ryan Smith before him, Vermes has been steadfast in his resolve to bring Bravo back slowly — especially since the team has plenty of options up top to fill in the meantime. Rookie C.J. Sapong has started every game for the club this season while Bravo inches closer to becoming game fit.

“I’ve said this a million times about players: I won’t push them beyond where they should be,” Vermes said. “If for some reason they’re not right, they’re not right. We have to go with the next guy.”

No matter who that guy ends up being, Sporting fully understand the importance of this weekend’s match against the Western Conference-leading Galaxy. With or — more likely — without Bravo, SKC can ill afford to allow themselves to lag further behind the pack despite a home-heavy schedule remaining and the Designated Player's return on the horizon.

“It’s important that we win to get some confidence and to collect points so we don’t get too far behind the rest of the league,” Bravo said. “We know that we have many games at home following these road games, but we can’t afford to leave points behind.”