CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan's left ankle has been bothering him since he sprained it in mid-September. And with the LA Galaxy out of the MLS Cup Playoffs, he can finally do something about it.
Donovan says he'll take a month, perhaps more, to heal up before returning to the field in January, either for the US national team's annual start-of-the-year gathering or when the Galaxy begin work toward the 2014 season and their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series with Club Tijuana.
He was left off Jurgen Klinsmann's roster for the USMNT's friendlies Friday against Scotland in Glasgow and next Tuesday against Austria in Vienna after missing last month's final World Cup qualifier with the injury.
“That is a little bit of a blessing, and I'm probably going to need the full time to let it heal,” Donovan said Monday, when the Galaxy met for the first time since returning home from Thursday's Western Conference Semifinal loss at Real Salt Lake. “My aim is to take at least the next four weeks and probably six weeks and let the ankle heal and then get myself ready.”
Donovan was hurt in a midfield battle for the ball with Luis Silva late in the first half of LA's 2-2 draw Sept. 14 at D.C. United. He missed one league game, returned for a Sept. 29 loss at Portland – he later said he shouldn't have played in that game – then scored two goals a week later against Chivas USA to tie Jeff Cunningham's career MLS goals record.
Klinsmann brought Donovan in for the final two World Cup qualifiers, then sent him home after he lasted just a half in the Oct. 11 victory over Jamaica in Kansas City. Donovan skipped the Galaxy's Oct. 16 win over Montreal, but went the full 90 on the ailing ankle in the final two regular-season games and both playoff legs against RSL.
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Asked how the ankle is now, he replied: “It's healing, hopefully.”
January's camp will be more important this year than it usually is, with the World Cup coming next summer, but Donovan isn't certain he will take part.
“We'll see what happens,” he said. “I have to speak with Jurgen and [see] if that's something he wants me to be a part of.”