KANSAS CITY, Mo. – But for the thin red line under Aurélien Collin’s right eye, you wouldn’t suspect anything is wrong with Sporting Kansas City’s French center back.
Beneath the skin, though, Collin is still on the mend from facial fractures sustained in last week’s MLS All-Star Game – and still awaiting clearance to put on a protective mask and begin training again.
“I did a brain test this morning, so I’m just waiting for the results,” Collin said Tuesday morning at the team’s practice facility. “If it’s good, I’m going to be back soon.”
The tests involve reasoning and memory, Collin said, and he recalls everything but the collision with Chelsea’s Michael Essien that left him woozy and draped over Essien on the pitch.
WATCH: Aurélien Collin's message to the fans
“I saw the replay a couple of days ago,” he said. “I hit the back of his head and then I was knocked out.”
Collin’s uncertain status, as well as injuries to right back Chance Myers and forward/midfielder Jacob Peterson and Honduran midfielder Roger Espinoza’s ongoing Olympic absence, have added extra urgency to Wednesday’s international friendly against English Premier League side Stoke City (8:30 pm ET).
Sporting, winless in their last three MLS outings, have a league match at New England on Saturday and play host the following Wednesday to three-time defending champion Seattle in the final of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
That just reinforces Sporting’s plan to get extensive game experience for their lesser-used players against Stoke, manager Peter Vermes said after Tuesday’s training session.
“It would always be the objective to get those guys as many minutes as possible,” Vermes said. “Is it more emphasized now that we have a ton of injuries? Yeah, sure.”
The team had said it would be later this week before the extent of Peterson’s right shoulder injury, which was sustained in the second half of Saturday’s 2-1 home loss to Columbus, was fully known. But on Tuesday, Vermes said that timetable was too optimistic.
“It’s going to take him a little while to see if it’s getting better, like it’s supposed to be, to do a rehab on it,” Vermes said. “That’s what they’re trying to figure out. I don’t know the timeline. That’s more the doctors and the trainers. It’s going to be days. It’s not going to be tomorrow or Thursday.”
Myers, who has missed Sporting’s past two league matches with a groin strain, told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday that he hopes to return in time for the Open Cup final.
“It’s day-to-day,” Myers said. “We’re pushing the limits, but we’re being smart about it.”
Before his injury, Myers had been the only player to appear in every league match – and all but one Cup game – for Sporting.
“Obviously, it’s tough just watching,” he said. “Nobody likes just sitting there. I think everybody can attest that being hurt, not feeling like you’re part of the team, you want to get back out there.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.