Injured Donovan unlikely vs. SJ, shifts focus to playoffs

CARSON, Calif. — LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan says he is “unlikely” for Sunday's game at San Jose (7 pm ET, Galavision), but what he's really saying goes something like this: He's aiming to be back for the playoffs and is dealing with “significant” damage in his left knee.

“Getting better. Progressing,” Donovan told media following Friday morning's practice at the Home Depot Center. “It's a slow process, but I have a goal of being ready by the playoffs, whenever that might start, so that's where we're going to go.”

The Galaxy captain trained on his own Friday, his first on-field session since suffering a bone bruise in the loss two weeks ago to Real Salt Lake, and said, when asked if the San Jose game was out of the question, that “this week is, I would say, unlikely; next week [in the regular-season finale against Seattle] is TBD, and then after that we'll see.”

Donovan said the knee injury, sustained when he landed hard on the turf following a challenge from RSL defender Jámison Olave, aggravated previously undisclosed ailments, one of which could be serious.

He discovered how extensive the damage was following an MRI after he joined the US national team in Miami before its World Cup qualifiers against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala.

He had a bone bruise already and also a torn posterior cruciate ligament, which he believes he suffered while rehabilitating a hamstring injury he picked up in the Aug. 15 friendly against Mexico and sidelined him for nearly a month.

“We were trying to pinpoint where it's from, but we're not quite sure,” Donovan said. “I've been in pain for a couple of months. And we weren't sure when any of those happened, so one of them could have happened before the other, they could have happened simultaneously. It's hard to know. ...

“Since the injury in the Mexico game, I've had just all sorts of stuff with this leg," he added. "It's possible [the first bruised knee and PCL tear occurred during the game in Mexico City]. I don't think it did. I think it probably was on the way back from that, trying to recover from that, something probably happened. Hard to know, though.”

Asked if the PCL tear will require postseason surgery, he replied: “We'll see. Not sure yet.”

Donovan said the bone bruise was “pretty painful” and that he was “just letting it heal and then dealing with the pain threshold.”

“If we were in different circumstances, I'd just play through the pain,” he said. “But the goal now is the playoffs. If it takes a couple games missing at the end of the season, it's better to be 100 percent for the playoffs.”

Head coach Bruce Arena didn't want to talk about it.

“I'm not going to worry about that today,” he said. “Not likely [he will play Sunday].”

Robbie Keane, Donovan's partner up front, says the Achilles injury that kept him out of Ireland's World Cup qualifier Friday against Germany was “fine” and that he is “now obviously ready to play Sunday's game.” He could be teamed with Mike Magee, who moved up front from his usual spot on the left flank during Donovan's last absence, or Edson Buddle, who is looking for his first league start since returning in August from knee surgery.