CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Keane can't wait to get started on preparing for the new season. But even though the LA Galaxy have opened preseason camp, wait he must.
The Galaxy training staff has Keane on a short leash following surgeries in late November on both of his Achilles tendons. So far, Keane is just running and focusing on fitness and strength work – with a little bit of ball play mixed in.
“It's been going very well,” Keane said Tuesday at StubHub Center, during LA's first media availability of the year. “The operations [were] successful ... they feel OK. The last six weeks, I've done a lot of rehab with the Irish [national team] trainer – swimming pool, out running and stuff like that, strength work on the Achilles.
"I did three jogs last week and one today. So so far, so good. A little bit last week with the ball. The trainers want to be extra cautious. I'll maybe have a few days on my own and build up from there.”
Recurring Achilles ailments have bothered Keane, the Galaxy's captain and an MLS MVP finalist last season, for years, and they cost him several games last year, both for the Galaxy and for the Ireland national team. LA's early exit from the playoffs – leading to the longest offseason Keane has experienced in many years – enabled him to have the procedures done, knowing he could be ready for the MLS opener March 8 against Real Salt Lake.
“I'll be back well before [then],” Keane said. “If I really wanted, I could probably train now, but we have to be careful and make sure this doesn't occur again. So far, it feels good and feels strong, and it's just nice to get up in the morning and not take an hour to walk to the bathroom.”
Once Keane is ready for full training, he'll be working with some new teammates in the attack, including 6-foot-5 Canadian target forward Rob Friend, signed after 11 years in Europe, and muscular 22-year-old Brazilian Samuel, on loan from Fluminense.
“I think it's good,” said Keane, who netted 20 goals in all competitions last year, posting 16 goals and 11 assists in regular-season play. “They're going to take the pressure off myself and Landon [Donovan], [if he] plays there, or whoever. They're two big, strong guys. I haven't seen too much of them – I've seen a few clips – and they look good, and they look strong, so that's only going to help us.”
One of the Galaxy's weaknesses last year was a lack of diversity in attack. Keane and Donovan are both smaller, mobile forwards, and the club’s forward depth, such as teenager Jack McBean and rookie Charlie Rugg, was extremely inexperienced. Friend, especially, brings professional experience, and the Galaxy will have more options in how they attack.
“We say that [the changes have made us better] every year, don't we? But I actually, genuinely do [think they have],” Keane said. “I think we look at the experienced players we've brought in, and I think that will certainly help the group. We lacked a little bit of that last year, a bit of experience, and certainly with the players that we brought in, I think that will help us.”