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Pablo Mastroeni aiming for LA return as Colorado Rapids continue to nurse injury crisis

Pablo Mastroeni runs

Photo Credit: 
USA TODAY Sports

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The Colorado Rapids have already lost last season’s leading goalscorer, their primary creative midfielder, their starting goalkeeper and their captain.

But if all goes to plan, two of those key holes could be filled as soon as this weekend.

Midfielder Pablo Mastroeni and striker Edson Buddle could be back as soon as this Saturday, with Mastroeni (hamstring) the closest of the pair to returning. Colorado head coach Oscar Pareja said that Mastroeni’s grade I hamstring pull is healing quickly, likely leaving the Rapids’ 36-year-old captain in line to return in time for Saturday night’s showdown against the LA Galaxy (10:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE).

READ: Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens out 3-4 months with broken forearm

“Pablo surprised me, to be quite honest, because his recovery has been very good,” Pareja said on Tuesday. “I think we are in a good direction with his rehab.”

Mastroeni injured his hamstring early in the first half of the Rapids' 2-1 loss to Philadelphia on March 10. He said on Tuesday that he expects to travel for the LA game, although his status as a starter will be dictated by the coaching staff and his conditioning.

“I’m targeting [returning] Saturday for sure,” Mastroeni told MLSsoccer.com.

Meanwhile, Buddle is continuing to recover from fluid buildup in his right knee and has not been fully training this week. After playing most of a Reserve match on Saturday night against Real Salt Lake, the 31-year-old wasn't in full training on Tuesday, and his status for Saturday’s game against his former team is in a bit more doubt.

READ: Colorado Rapids could look at Kevin Hartman as GK replacement 

“Edson is coming along,” Pareja said of Buddle, who hasn’t played in a league match this season. “It takes some time because you push him in one side, and that creates more problems. But hopefully by the end of the week, we can have a better answer.”

Also this week, midfielder Martin Rivero has resumed light jogging after breaking his foot on February 1. He isn’t expected to return for a few more weeks.

Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.