FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England midfielder Benny Feilhaber returned to the training field on Tuesday as he continues his recovery from a right ankle sprain.
Feilhaber has missed the Revolution's past two matches after sustaining the injury during the second half of a 1-0 home defeat to the LA Galaxy on May 28, but he has healed enough to start working his way back toward the first-team picture.
The US international midfielder participated in passing drills with his teammates and subsequently worked his way through a series of agility drills on the sidelines.
“I don't know exactly how much longer [it will take to recover], but it's starting to feel good,” Feilhaber told MLSsoccer.com after the session. “I'm jogging and moving from side-to-side [in drills]. I had a nice little warm-up. It could be soon, it could be a little bit longer than they expected, but I'd like to be out there as soon as possible.”
In order to return to more rigorous activities, Feilhaber said he will need to continue to see improvement in his ankle. The pain decreases with each passing day, but Feilhaber said he wants to make sure he does not rush the healing process.
“Right now, it's more about pain than anything,” Feilhaber said. “I still feel there's some pain in there, but, little by little each day, it's getting better. Once there's no pain, I can move from side-to-side and I can play with the guys, I should be back in there.”
Although Feilhaber is itching to return to the field, he said he doesn't plan to set a timetable regarding his return to the side. Since he has just returned to the training field and has not participated in a full training session, it seems likely that he won't be in contention for the visits by Toronto FC (Wednesday) and Chicago (Saturday) this week.
The exact timing of his return will ultimately depend on Feilhaber's fitness – he caught up to speed quickly once he signed from AGF Aarhus in April despite missing a few practice sessions — and when he returns to full training, according to Revolution coach Steve Nicol.
“It depends entirely on him,” Nicol said. “He'll have a good idea. He hasn't trained fully yet. Once he trains fully, he'll have an idea of how tired he is and where he is as far as fitness is concerned. Once we do that, we'll have a better idea.”