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Seattle Sounders forward Obafemi Martins returns to training, but no timetable on return to lineup

Obafemi Martins

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports

TUKWILA, Wash. — Obafemi Martins returned to training on Thursday but it remains unclear when he'll return to the field.

Although the Seattle Sounders Designated Player said he was "hopeful" about playing as soon as Saturday against the New England Revolution (4 pm ET, watch on MLS LIVE), the ice wrap on his knee and cautious words from head coach Sigi Schmid suggest less reason for optimism.

"We'll see," Schmid told reporters. "He feels a little better, but I'm not sure if it's enough for him to play."

READ: Schmid: Sounders have to build on promising CCL performance in league play

WATCH: Schmid addresses Martins' health

While not entirely closing the door on the possibility, Schmid suggested the Sounders may take a more measured approach in bringing Martins back than they did in allowing him to play in their last league game against Real Salt Lake. Martins had previously aggravated a tendon in his knee and played only after undergoing a fitness test just hours before kickoff.

Martins played about 60 minutes in that game at Rio Tinto Stadium and subsequently missed both legs of Seattle's CONCACAF Champions League semifinal against Santos Laguna while treating and resting his knee.

"We have to make sure he's healthy," Schmid said. "We have to make sure our guys are healthy before we put them in there. We can't shortchange ourselves and put guys on the field who aren't healthy or aren't in position to give 100 percent. We need players on the field who can give 100 percent all the time.

"As a pro player, you're never fully 100 percent, you're playing at 90 percent or whatever. But everyone understands what I mean: players that are prepared to give what they can give in a game. With Oba, we've got to get him to that point and then we can talk about integrating him into the team."

READ: Sounders turn attention fully to MLS action

Martins confirmed that the injury was an ongoing one he's been able to play through for some time. He said rest, not surgery, was the key to getting healthy.

"When it gets sore like this, I have to take my time to take care of it," he said. "Trust me, I want to do everything right now. But because of my knee, I have to be patient and try to sort it out, and try to join the team as soon as possible."