WASHINGTON – Looks can be deceiving.
When D.C. United midfielder Perry Kitchen fell to the ground halfway through last Saturday’s match against the Houston Dynamo after his knee gave out on his way down from an aerial challenge, the immediate prognosis seemed bleak.
"It doesn’t look great,” D.C. manager Ben Olsen said after the match. “I don’t think it’s going to be a five- to seven-day day injury."
With that backdrop, the news on Kitchen’s injury on Tuesday could not have come as any more of a surprise.
MRI results on Tuesday revealed that there was no damage to Kitchen’s right knee, and the 20-year-old defensive midfielder was right back on the field practicing with his teammates ahead of Wednesday’s match against the Colorado Rapids (7:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE).
“Shocked,” Kitchen told reporters when he heard of the test results. “[The fall] looked bad, and it felt bad, and when the doc told me, I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? You read the right MRI?’ Still a little bit of pain, but nothing serious.”
Highlights: Houston vs. DC United
That will be welcome news for manager Ben Olsen, who was forced to scramble when Kitchen left the Dynamo match. Stephen King replaced Kitchen during the game, but the former Akron star’s presence was missed, as United fell to the Dynamo 1-0.
“It was great news, it was absolutely a relief,” Olsen told reporters on Tuesday. “He was upset at himself because he came out of the game and that he had nothing injured. He apologized profusely, [but] we all saw the film – it looked pretty scary.”
News of Kitchen’s escape meant that the third pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft won’t join the long list of injury-riddled players that Olsen will have to contend with during a critical, three-game, 10-day home stretch for the Black-and-Red. Kitchen is officially listed as questionable for Wednesday, but both manager and player said it’s possible that he will be part of the matchday squad against the Rapids.
Center back Emiliano Dudar is still out with a hamstring strain, while Marcelo Saragosa, who plays at defensive midfielder, and Nick DeLeon are doubtful for the game. Dejan Jakovic is closer to returning than Dudar, but might be pipped out of a spot by Ethan White, who was named to the bench but did not feature against Houston.
“It seems like we got a lot of good news yesterday,” Olsen added. “With some of the guys we had questions marks about, none of them are real serious. Maicon [Santos] has a sore calf, but he is going to be fine, [Chris] Korb is fine, [Chris] Pontius has the muscle thing that has been hampering him, but it’s nothing too serious."