Rapids return, but plenty of players still on the mend

Conor Casey

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The Colorado Rapids returned to the field on Monday for the first time since bowing out of the MLS postseason last fall, but there are still a number of players on the mend after injuries derailed their campaign in 2011.

Most notably still sidelined is striker Conor Casey, who suffered a torn Achilles tendon in July and initially faced up to nine months on the shelf. Although he was absent from the team’s first training of the year, Casey appears ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation and could potentially resume training before the end of preseason.

New head coach Oscar Pareja said that Casey, who scored six goals in 14 games before suffering the injury, is “doing really well” with his recovery.

“I hear from the doctors that he is doing much better,” Pareja said.

Defenders Anthony Wallace (knee) and Kosuke Kimura (foot) are currently taking it fairly easy, with little expected from them in terms of training fully until the team is off the turf they’re using during the preseason. Kimura suffered a broken foot during the team’s postseason series against Sporting Kansas City and was one of four starters injured during the MLS Cup Playoffs, including midfielder Jamie Smith (knee), defender Drew Moor (shoulder) and striker Caleb Folan (ankle).

Smith, who suffered a torn ACL during the team’s Wild Card round win over the Columbus Crew, worked out with team doctors on Monday and the club is hopeful he can return sometime in May.

Midfielder Pablo Mastroeni, who suffered a concussion during a match against Real Salt Lake on Oct. 14 and missed the postseason entirely, was present for both the team’s physicals last week and for the workout session on Monday.