Kelyn Rowe "flying" on his long-awaited return to full training with New England Revolution

Kelyn Rowe closeup 2014

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USA Today Sports

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Expected to be an integral part of the New England Revolution attack in 2014, midfielder Kelyn Rowe has instead been forced to work overtime just to get back on the pitch.

Rowe, who made 26 starts and missed only one game in 2013, was finally back with the first team in training this week, signaling that his return to game-day action is close after a frustrating battle with hamstring problems in both legs.

“He wants to play, he’s competitive,” coach Jay Heaps told reporters on Tuesday. “This injury, you can tell, has really bothered him because he’s been away from the group and not playing. … [But] he's really flying right now. It's good to have him back in the mix.”

After missing the second game of the season with a left hamstring injury, Rowe returned in Week 3 against Vancouver, which may have spurred the right hamstring strain that has led to him missing the last five Revolution matches.

Rowe's status for this weekend’s tilt in Toronto (1 pm ET, MLS LIVE, Univision Deportes in US, TSN in Canada) remains questionable. But the Revs are extremely pleased with his progress to date and feel it is only a matter of time before the versatile midfielder returns to the starting lineup.

“Every player who has a knock here or there wants to get out there as much as possible,” New England striker Teal Bunbury told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “For Kelyn, his spirits are up, and he’s had a great attitude about everything.”

Having marked off less than one-third of the season’s schedule, the Revolution have had the luxury of being caution with Rowe’s injury.

“He’s ready to go, I know that for a fact,” said Bunbury. “I know the rest of the guys are really excited and ready for him to get back and healthy, but the main thing is making sure that he doesn’t come back too soon, and there's no nagging issues.”