HARRISON, N.J. — The New York Red Bulls may be without the services of Wilman Conde a little longer than they expected. The Colombian center back re-aggravated his persisting groin injury during Thursday's full-field scrimmage at Red Bull Arena and head coach Hans Backe fears he could remain out up to a month.
“It’s not good,” Backe told reporters following Thursday’s training session. “Perhaps we should have expected it, because being out 10 months, no preseason, typical for a guy his age to pick up hamstrings, thighs, groins. I’m a little bit afraid that it will keep going like this the rest of the season.”
Conde recently recovered from an ankle injury that sidelined him for 10 months, but he has suffered many setbacks since signing with Red Bulls over the offseason and has been unavailable for three of the season’s first five games.
The big Colombian was preparing to make his return to the side after the groin strain he suffered a week-and-a-half ago and was targeting Saturday's game vs. San Jose (7 pm ET, watch LIVE online) for his return before the most recent setback.
With the transfer window still open until April 15, Backe could scramble to add a center back to his team given the 29-year-old defender’s frequent spells on the sidelines. But he probably won’t.
“That will not be easy,” said Backe of the possibility of signing someone. “Of course, Monday is the deadline. But of course there is a concern, definitely, with Conde out. We have to wait and see, but it is almost impossible to find or sign anyone before Monday.”
Conde’s groin knock is just the latest setback to a Red Bulls side plagued by injuries. Forward Juan Agudelo is out for at least a few more weeks with a knee injury, and Teemu Tainio is expected to be on the shelves for the foreseeable future with a knee sprain.
Adding to the Red Bulls’ concerns were a slight knock that Dax McCarty picked up on Wednesday and center back Markus Holgersson’s absence from the training session.
“Markus is sick,” said Backe. “Hopefully, he’ll be available tomorrow. Dax is only a little bit of a tight hamstring after yesterday’s session, so he’ll probably be available.”
With McCarty out of Thursday’s practice, Victor Palsson played alongside Rafa Márquez in central midfield for the Red Bulls first team as they took on the second team in the full-field scrimmage. Tyler Ruthven filled in for Conde on the first team’s defense after the Colombian limped off the field.
Mehdi Ballouchy spent all of the scrimmage on the left side of the first team’s midfield, while Joel Lindpere played with the second team. Backe says he won’t make a decision on who to start vs. San Jose until Friday.
Ballouchy took the majority of the corner kicks as the Red Bulls practiced set pieces in the latter parts of the practice.