Holden back in Houston to face newest rehab challenge

HOUSTON – Stuart Holden would like to start coming home under better circumstances.

The former Houston Dynamo and current Bolton Wanderers midfielder is back in his hometown to start his rehab on his latest injury setback. While in town, Holden was one of the 30,018 that attended the Dynamo’s final regular-season game at Robertson Stadium last Sunday.

“It’s awesome to be here for the last game at Robertson, where I’ve had so many great moments,” Holden said at halftime of the game. “They asked if I wanted to go out and do the first kick, and it was cool to be back on the field here again.”

Holden’s trip to Robertson came as a break in his rehab schedule for an injury that caught him off guard.

The US international suffered a serious knee injury in March that shelved him for nearly six months. He returned to the field on Sept. 20 and logged 90 minutes in a Carling Cup match against Aston Villa, but his knee swelled for seven days following the match and continued to cause him pain.

It was not until a routine surgery to remove a pin in his knee, however, that he found out what was the real issue. That same pin had come loose and done more damage to his cartilage, and putting him back on the shelf for an expected six more months.

“It was really tough the first few weeks [after the surgery],” Holden said. “When I woke up from the surgery and found out that I was out for six months, it was a real deflater. I was on the floor and it took a couple of weeks to get over that. Now I’ve got my head on right and I’m ready to do the work I need to to get back on the field.”

Holden is now home to start his rehab, which includes work to start bending his knee before he transitions to Delaware in four weeks, where he will hopefully be back running in eight weeks.

The Scotland-born Holden, who grew up largely in nearby Sugar Land, Texas, and attended high school in Houston, is taking advantage of the creature comforts that come with being back in a city where the soccer fans have adopted him as a favorite son.

“I couldn’t be more grateful for [Bolton] to let me come back here, because they didn’t have to,” Holden said. “It’s good to come here and be around my family and friends to take your mind off the shock of an injury and all the hard things you have to do. I’ve been eating with the guys and going out and being around the city. It’s all a part of the process of preparing yourself for battle, in a sense.”

Holden, however, is hoping this is the last battle he’ll face under these conditions.

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.