VANCOUVER, B.C. – It's unclear how severe Vancouver Whitecaps center back Brad Rusin's ankle injury is, but to hear his coach describe it, the problem could keep the defender out a while.
The player has had X-rays done and is set for an MRI at some point on Tuesday.
"It's like a balloon, basically," head coach Martin Rennie said after a training session at the University of British Columbia on Tuesday. "It looks huge. It doesn't look too good. But I'm not the expert on that, so rather than speculate, we'll just wait until we find out the full extent."
Rusin was stretchered off with the injury in the 17th minute of Saturday's 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field after colliding with opponent Diego Valeri awkwardly.
If the 26 year old's injury is serious, he becomes the latest center back to go down hurt for the 'Caps. (For the pedantic, he was actually playing as a defensive midfielder on Saturday as a fill-in for the suspended Jun Marques Davidson, but has primarily played as a central defender this season)
The club lost captain Jay DeMerit on opening day due to an Achilles tendon rupture and his central defensive partner Andy O'Brien has been out since Vancouver's 3-2 loss to the Seattle Sounders on June 8.
Given Rusin started in midfield in front of the pairing of Johnny Leveron and Carlyle Mitchell, if he is out for an extended period the back four from last weekend could remain intact for this weekend's match against the San Jose Earthquakes.
As for the health of other center backs in the squad, DeMerit and O'Brien participated in full training on Tuesday as they have done now over about two weeks.
DeMerit has targeted a return sometime this month, but decided last weekend's reserve league match against the Timbers came too soon – meaning he's still likely a few weeks away from competitive action.
As for O'Brien, he could be back as soon as this weekend.
"If needed, yeah," O'Brien said of whether he could play against the Earthquakes. "I'm not holding back now, because all the pain is gone and I'm not restricted in any way."
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.