Colorado Rapids continue to rule out Shane O'Neill with lingering, and mysterious, knee injury

Having allowed seven goals in their last three games, the Colorado Rapids could certainly use center back Shane O’Neill’s services. But it doesn’t appear the 20-year-old will be back in action – at least not anytime soon.

O’Neill hasn’t played since July 12 with an unspecified knee injury. But the interesting – and concerning – part of it all is the knee injury isn’t unspecified for secrecy issues. The club is still trying to determine exactly what’s wrong with their prized Homegrown defender.

“He got a scan yesterday, and it sounds there’s more questions with each scan,” Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday before the Rapids flew to Washington for their Sunday match against D.C. United (8 pm ET; UDN). “Before we even start to move forward with a protocol for recovery, we need to know exactly what’s going on.”

While there are big questions about when O’Neill might come back into the fold, there’s little question he could be used right about now. Mental lapses on the defensive end, particularly in the early part of games, have seen the Rapids fall into their biggest slump of the season to date, collecting just five points from their previous seven games, including an active three-game losing skid.

O’Neill previously told MLSsoccer.com he initially suffered the knee injury while blocking a shot against the Columbus Crew on July 4. The US U-20 international played 90 minutes the following week in a 3-3 draw in Philadelphia, but he’s missed the last five games with what Mastroeni described as “shooting” pain in his leg.

“The idea is that they’re going to continue to treat the MCL, where there is inflammation,” Mastroeni said. “We’d love to have Shane available, and that’s not the reality of it, so we get him the right treatment as we’ve been doing in the hopes of getting to the bottom of this and all the while try to charge forward.”

Veteran Marvell Wynne is expected to continue filling in O’Neill’s spot, with fellow veteran Marc Burch at right back.

Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.