DC United finally on the mend after plethora of injuries

WASHINGTON — For the second time in less than a week, two D.C. United players absent with head injuries are closing in on a return.

After Brandon Barklage and Blake Brettschneider came back a week ago, Santino Quaranta (above) and Devon McTavish were back in training on Tuesday, spending most of the session working at full strength.

“It was a big step for [Santino] and Devon,” head coach Ben Olsen said. “It’s been a long road for them, so it’s nice to see them back.”

The road has, indeed, been long for that pair — McTavish has been out since preseason after picking up a concussion in a friendly, while Quaranta has been missing since May. Both were excited to finally be back with the guys in training.

“I’m just happy to be back out here and playing and not be sitting in my apartment with the blinds down in a dark room,” McTavish said. “It’s good for my mental health to be back here with the team, and just try to take it slowly.”

On DC’s latest injury report, the duo were upgraded to questionable, but a specific timeline isn’t quite yet certain — Quaranta has missed less time, and said that he could be back in less than two weeks, while McTavish must take a more patient approach.

“I have a lot of work to do to get fit and learn how to play the game again,” said McTavish.

Forwards Charlie Davies and Josh Wolff were back after picking up minor injuries last week. Davies made the trip to San Jose and was an unused substitute in the 2-0 win after suffering soreness in his knee, while Wolff injured his hamstring against Everton that kept him from making the journey out west.

Joe Ngwenya and Kurt Morsink were also back in action, even if only jogging on the side. Ngwenya suffered a concussion in training last week, and Morsink picked up an ankle injury out in California.

With the number of available and healthy bodies continuing to grow, Olsen could sense the competition rising for starting positions.

“We’re getting healthy, and … guys sense that there’s a lot of [players] that I believe in and willing to put in the game,” Olsen said. “You saw guys today that are hungry to be a part of the [starting] 11.”

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