Montreal Impact cautiously optimistic as oft-injured defender Nelson Rivas returns to training

Nelson Rivas, Montreal Impact (May 26, 2012)

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MONTREAL – Impact center back Nelson Rivas, still struggling with a right thigh injury, has rejoined the team in Montreal after a three-week stay in Colombia.

Rivas re-signed with Montreal in early 2014 after months of fitness progress but picked up the injury during the team’s first preseason scrimmage on Feb. 16 against Orlando City. After flying back to Montreal, Rivas asked the Impact for a short return to his home country for personal reasons.

The club granted him the leave of absence in the knowledge that local doctors would supervise Rivas’ rehabilitation.

“He’s here, and [the injury] obviously wasn’t as bad as we saw,” head coach Frank Klopas told reporters on Tuesday. “I talked to him today, he’s been working hard. He’s another guy with who, if we can get all of our guys back, I feel that there’s very good depth in the team.”

Rivas is one of three Montreal defenders currently out due to injury. Center back Adrian Lopez is expected to return to training in April after undergoing knee surgery, while left back Maxim Tissot is currently training on the sidelines due to a shoulder sprain.

Setting a recovery timetable for Rivas, whose lower-body issues have limited him to only 11 of Montreal's 70 regular-season games since 2012, has often proved tricky. This injury is no different, but there is cautious optimism in the air.

“With him, we’ll see week by week,” Klopas said. “With the hamstring, it wasn’t as bad as we thought, but you never know. We’ve got to build him up and bring him in slowly. We’ll see week by week.”