New York Red Bulls not counting on influential Bradley Wright-Phillips to return by Oct. 20

Bradley Wright-Phillips

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of New York Red Bulls

Not even some down time is enough to ensure that Bradley Wright-Phillips will be back in action soon.

New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke told reporters via a conference call on Tuesday that Wright-Phillips is still nursing a hamstring issue that has forced the Englishman to miss the club’s last two games. The first-place Red Bulls are off this week before visiting the Houston Dynamo in their penultimate match of the season on Oct. 20.

Though having those extra days for recovery is certainly a positive for Wright-Phillips, Petke said there is no guarantee he will be healthy enough to make his return to New York’s game-day roster by then.

“Nothing is impossible, but the way I’m taking it is: Until they give me that glimmer of hope, I’m counting on him to still be recovering,” said Petke of Wright-Phillips, who was seen running with a trainer in practice late last week. “There’s always a chance, I assume. He looks good walking around, he’s going to treatment nonstop, our medical staff is very good. They can potentially have him back, but as of now I don’t have that answer yet.”

Although he has just one assist to his credit, New York are 4-0-0 this season when Wright-Phillips starts. That record does include, however, the Sept. 22 win over FC Dallas, when Wright-Phillips' injury forced him out of the game in the first half. Since he was signed in late July, the Red Bulls are 2-2-3 in games Wright-Phillips does not start.

In other injury news, left backs Connor Lade and Roy Miller are also attempting to return from their respective injuries. Lade, also seen running on the side at training sessions last week, continues to make progress from a knee problem suffered in early July but has made only two starts this season. Miller, who has made 16 starts but has not played since August 25, continues to be held out of practice due to his injured Achilles.

“Connor is starting to become active,” said Petke. “He’s doing stuff out on the field. Perhaps there’s a chance, maybe, he’ll be playing a little bit more when we get back to practice. Roy is still recovering and not out on the field yet.”

Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by email at Franco8813@gmail.com.