New ailment could hinder Casey's Rapids return

Conor Casey

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Colorado Rapids striker Conor Casey has been itching to get back out on the field ever since he ruptured his Achilles last July. But thanks to a mom-and-pop case of strep throat, Casey may just have to wait a little bit longer to make his season debut.

“Conor has had strep throat,” coach Oscar Pareja told MLSsoccer.com Tuesday. “I’m optimistic to have him available, but we won’t know until the end of the week and how he gets back from the sickness. But he’s getting ready.”

Casey has been targeting Saturday’s showdown with the LA Galaxy at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (9 pm ET, watch on MLS LIVE) as his return date, but that may have to be postponed due to the illness. According to head trainer Jaime Rojas, Casey called him Monday to inform him that he was feeling feverish, and the Rapids have instructed Casey to stay away from the rest of the team until he’s better.

“We’ll wait and see, don’t want to get anyone else infected,” Rojas told MLSsoccer.com Tuesday. “So we’re not going to have him out here.”

The key to Casey’s potential return will be to prove his fitness after nine months away from the pitch. If Casey can show that he’s in match shape before Saturday, he will likely play for the first time since the Achilles injury last July 16.

“If he continues the way he was last week, he should be available,” Pareja said.

If Casey does play, the 30-year-old would likely come off the bench. The regular trio of Tony Cascio, Omar Cummings and Brian Mullan are expected to start up top Saturday night against the Galaxy.

Casey has six goals in eight career games against the Galaxy.

Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.