Landon Donovan still questionable for Galaxy ahead of big Portland Timbers showdown
CARSON, Calif. – Will he or won't he?
Landon Donovan's status has been the big question since he sprained his ankle almost two weeks ago, and after he flirted with returns for the LA Galaxy last weekend against Seattle and in Wednesday's CONCACAF Champions League game at Cartaginés, he could finally find his way onto the field this weekend.
Donovan is uncertain for Sunday's Western Conference showdown at Portland (3:30 pm ET; NBC), and the decision, whatever it may be, probably won't be made until just before game time.
“We'll see,” Donovan said following the Galaxy's training session Friday morning at the StubHub Center. “I hope to play, but we'll see.”
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Donovan returned to full training Friday, 13 days after spraining his left ankle while tangling at midfield with D.C. United's Luis Silva, and he says he feels good.
“It's still attached,” he joked.
But whether he can play in Portland will come down to “how I feel,” he said.
“It's not fun for any of us to be hurt and out for a long time,” he continued, “so when you get a chance to get back with the guys in training, it's a nice feeling.”
LA coach Bruce Arena said last week he was “planning” on Donovan playing in the 1-1 draw with Seattle, but the star forward didn't make the 18-man roster. He traveled with the Galaxy to Costa Rica for Wednesday's 3-0 victory but again failed to make it onto the game roster.
“Any injury, you don't know until you wake up each day,” Donovan said. “And some days you wake up and feel great. A few weeks back I had a [back] injury that I was told there was zero chance of me playing, and played 90 minutes [in a 3-0 win over San Jose]. The Seattle game I was probably more hopeful that I'd be ready, and I couldn't play.
“Each day you wake up and you take it for what it is, and then you move forward.”
Arena said Donovan was “close” to being able to play against Cartagines and that there was a “strong possibility” he'll be ready to go against the Timbers. It's a critical clash – Portland (11-5-13) is third in a wild Western race and the Galaxy (13-10-6) are fourth – and the Galaxy are markedly better when Donovan and Robbie Keane are on the field.
LA doesn't want to rush him into the lineup, but they need him.
“We're going to make sure he's healthy,” defender Todd Dunivant said. “There's no point in rushing him back and getting hurt again and being out for the final stretch. Better to get him right. Especially on [Portland's artificial] turf with an ankle, you want to make sure he's right.”
Donovan said the turf wouldn't be a factor.
“We have five games left, and, realistically, if we want to vie for the Supporters' Shield, we have to probably win four out of five, or maybe five out of five,” he said. “So every game's crucial right now, and we're going to put our best team forward every time.”