COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – At first, the Colorado Rapids’ injury bug was merely a pest. Then, it grew into a problem.
Now, it’s become a ruthless and relentless tyrant, biting and striking every game.
The latest Rapids injury hit a critical piece of Colorado’s midfield. Star holding midfielder Hendry Thomas will miss “a few weeks” with a left hamstring strain suffered in the second half of Sunday’s 1-1 draw with the Dynamo.
“At this point, it seems like Hendry’s going to be a few weeks out,” head coach Oscar Pareja told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday of Thomas, who now holds the unfortunate distinction as the Rapids’ eighth injured player. “We’re going to be evaluating him every day to see how is his progress.”
The 28-year-old Honduran, who arrived from English Premier League side Wigan Athletic last August and signed a contract extension in January, went down in a heap of pain in the 51st minute of Sunday’s match, clutching his left thigh as he came out of the game just a minute later.
Thomas underwent an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the hamstring injury, with worries that he may have suffered a severe strain or even a tear. But late Tuesday night, Thomas offered the first clue about his injury via Twitter, saying, “the injury is not serious.”
The strain will keep Thomas, who had started all nine Rapids games so far this season, out of Saturday’s game against Toronto (9 pm ET, MLS LIVE) and a May 11 trip to Columbus. Colorado's May 18 visit to San Jose and their home date with Chivas on May 25 are in doubt as well.
The most likely fit in the Rapids’ midfield would be Pablo Mastroeni, the veteran holding midfielder who returned from a quad strain as a substitute in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Houston. However, other possible options to replace the 28-year-old Honduran include Nick LaBrocca, Nathan Sturgis, Dillon Powers and another recent injury returnee, Martin Rivero, should Pareja elect to go with an attack-heavy formation.
But in the meantime, the tough-tackling Thomas will undoubtedly be missed by his already thin team.
“With Hendry, you take the ball back from the other team, [along with] the many balls he recovers, the distribution as well,” Pareja said. “It is what it is.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.