Sporting's Bunbury reaches "halfway point" of ACL rehab
With all going well, Teal Bunbury is at the halfway point of his projected recovery period from surgery to repair his torn left ACL and damaged LCL.
Still, Sporting Kansas City's young striker isn't setting a target date for his return to the pitch. And if anyone else has, he doesn't want to hear it.
"I keep telling the doctors that I don't want to know an exact date of when I'm going to be back," Bunbury told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Monday. "They can discuss that with the coaches and the owners, but I don't want an exact date."
The reason, he said, is that he doesn't want to work on his rehab under the pressure of a deadline.
"I don't want it to come to a certain point of time where they say, 'This is the day you can be ready,' and once I get to that date, if I'm not ready, I don't want it to mess with me mentally," he added. "I'm going to take my time, but obviously I want to get back as quickly as possible. I'm just going to be cautious about pushing myself too hard."
Still, Bunbury – who was hurt against New York in a match in late August and underwent surgery in early September – is pleased with his progress.
"I'm at that stage now where I'm really starting to work on the strength in my muscles, getting that back, and the stability," he said. "I'm moving around, and I'm feeling really good. In my mind, I'm at the halfway point. Some days are better than others, but my spirits are definitely up."
When he does come back, though, the recovery process won't be over.
"What a lot of people don't know about the ACL is that the recovery process takes about a year," he said. "You can play on it before that, but it takes a whole year for it to completely be healed."
Bunbury, who had five goals for Sporting last year, has been in contact with US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann since his injury and still hopes to contend for a World Cup trip to Brazil in 2014.
"That's something that's always in the back of my mind when I'm rehabbing," he said, "trying to make that World Cup roster."
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.