Banged-up DC United slowly progressing on injury front

WASHINGTON — Slowly but surely, D.C. United are starting to get positive news on the injury front.

While a couple of long-term issues linger with midfielders Branko Boskovic and Devon McTavish, Jed Zayner and Junior Carreiro both saw minutes in a Reserve League draw against New England, a significant step forward for players who have missed significant time this season.

It’s particularly good news for Zayner, who has been battling a hamstring injury for most of the season, limiting him to just two games so far this year.

“That’s a big step for him right now — to get 45 minutes in a real game,” head coach Ben Olsen told reporters after training on Wednesday.

Carreiro has been on the shelf longer, however, severely spraining his ankle during an early preseason scrimmage against Florida International University in February.

DC captain Dax McCarty also played 45 minutes in the reserve match as he continues recovering from a groin injury that has seen him miss DC’s last two league matches.

McCarty says he feels ready to go, and Olsen labeled him as “in and around 100 percent,” though the midfielder will be evaluated on Thursday and Friday ahead of Saturday’s clash against the San Jose Earthquakes.

All three are now listed as probable on the latest injury report.

However, coming with the forward progress is the news that defender Dejan Jakovic will miss significant time with the hamstring injury picked up while on international duty with Canada that cost him a spot in the 2011 Gold Cup.

Olsen couldn’t give an exact timetable on how long Jakovic will be out.

“I don’t know — a couple weeks,” he said. “All this stuff, the trainers figure out where he’s at and they’ll get him back as quick and safely as possible.”

Also still missing in action is veteran midfielder Santino Quaranta, who continues to battle lingering problems after suffering a concussion two weeks ago in training. Like Jakovic, how much time Quaranta will miss is still something hard to pinpoint.

“You know how these things go – you don’t want to get into guessing on what’s wrong or how long it’s going to take,” Olsen said. “[Concussions are] tough things to figure out, and they’re scary things. You don’t want to push guys and make sure you give them the right amount of time so the rest of their life is normal.”

Defender Marc Burch (hamstring) and midfielder Kurt Morsink (ankle) are also on the road back from injuries.

Travis Clark covers D.C. United, College and Youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @travismclark