LA Galaxy winger Robbie Rogers copes with stress reaction injury, hopes to return in three weeks

LA's Robbie Rogers and RSL's Chris Wingert

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USA Today

CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Rogers thinks he could be ready to play again in another three weeks, but the way his latest injury has gone, nothing is certain. For now, he's back on the field, mostly running in circles, and that is an encouraging step forward after an aggravating preseason.

The LA Galaxy winger, whose first season back in MLS last year was derailed by a series of ailments, has not played since early February due to a stress reaction in his left ankle, an injury considered a precursor to a stress fracture.

“I've never really heard of [a stress reaction], but it's pretty much the bone in my talus is bleeding, it's damaged,” Rogers said after the Galaxy's training session Tuesday morning at StubHub Center. “It's like a stress fracture. I've had a few MRIs, and you could see blood inside it. ... It's just random.

"When they told me it was a 'stress reaction,' I was like, 'Did you just make that up for me? What is that?' It's good I caught it when I did, because if I would have done more damage, I would have had microfracture [surgery], which obviously takes you out for the whole season.”

Head coach Bruce Arena is not about to rush Rogers back.

“It's going to take him some time,” Arena said. “He's just starting to come back. He's been out a while. We'll see how he moves along over the next couple of weeks.”

Rogers, who signed with the Galaxy at the end of May after ending a brief retirement, was repeatedly sidelined last season by injuries – most minor, one major – which forced him to deal with fitness issues when he was healthy. He was finally rounding into form when LA were eliminated in early November, worked hard during the offseason and came into camp feeling fit and ready to contribute in earnest.

The pain began within days.

“It was just a few days before our first preseason game [on Feb. 1] I started to feel it,” Rogers said. “And then for a few days, that game and the day after, it was, I don't know. At first I thought it was just the normal aches and pains of a preseason, but eventually it got really swollen [and] I could barely put on my shoe.”

Rogers said doctors told him they believe the injury is from overuse.

“They don't know [how I hurt it],” he said. “It wasn't a tackle or anything. I tried to train through it, because I didn't have a sprain or anything.”

The 26-year-old winger spent a few weeks in a boot rehabbing the ankle, then began jogging. Now he can envision returning to the field.

“I think next week I can start training properly with the team, and then, obviously, I need to get fit and do all that stuff and probably play some games with the second team," Rogers said. "So maybe another three weeks from today, hopefully. That's a perfect-case scenario, so we'll see.”