Toronto's Cann ahead of schedule, eyes January return

TORONTO – Adrian Cann was looking forward to having an excellent season in 2011, and a Toronto FC squad thick in rebuilding mode needed his presence in central defense.

But Cann’s – and TFC’s – hopes came to a crashing halt on May 31 during a practice session on artificial turf at TFC's Cherry Beach training facility, when his foot got caught on the unyielding turf during a four-on-three drill and tore the ACL in his right knee. His season was over.

“I had the ball and decided to plant my foot in the ground to turn and my foot got caught,” Cann recalled to MLSsoccer.com last week. “It was a muggy day, it was really hot, and there was no give in the turf. I decided to turn in an instant and then, right when I turned, it just popped.”

Cann underwent surgery on July 26 and rehabilitation has gone well for the 31-year-old center back.

“I think I’m well ahead of schedule,” he said. “This past month, Toronto sent me down to Athletes’ Performance in Los Angeles. It was pretty rigorous.”

Toronto FC open preseason training on Jan. 23, and Cann hopes to be ready.

“It’s a really good possibility,” he said. “If it were up to me, I would be ready to go tomorrow. But I think it depends on what the trainers on the team decide to do. My mentality says I’m going to be ready for that.”

Cann revealed that Jan. 26 is a key date for him.

“Usually, after the six-month mark, they give you the green light, that’s what the surgeon was saying,” Cann said. “I think they would throw me into the training sessions here and there, not for the entire training session, but for portions of it until I feel comfortable enough to kind of do the full thing.

“Right now I feel great, but playing in a game is entirely different,” he continued. “Once I start playing with the ball, I’ll feel that much better, and once I start playing against opponents, then that’s where it’s at. That all takes place in preseason. In the offseason, I’m not going to jeopardize all my work of the past two months.”

Toronto FC head coach Aron Winter will be happy to get his defender back, as Cann’s injury not only left a void in the back line, but in leadership as well.

“I was expecting to have a great season alongside whoever was playing with me,” said Cann. “Coming back, I know my mentality and I know what I bring off and on the field and what I bring to the team. If I can keep myself healthy and strong, I don’t doubt anything, I feel that I can do the job. I know I’ll be ready to play – it’s just a matter of them giving me the green light.”