Paul Arriola - DC United - warming up

Like others who entered the COVID-19 pandemic recovering from injury, D.C. United midfielder/winger Paul Arriola is set to benefit from the extended suspension of the 2020 MLS season.

However, the US men’s national teamer might not miss the entire campaign as was feared after having ACL surgery Feb. 24 to repair a long-term knee injury suffered in preseason. Such injuries tend to take nine months – give or take – to fully recover from, and the prolonged pause could impact Arriola’s timeline.

Eyes initially shifted towards a 2021 return. Now, maybe not so much.

“I try not to think too much about it, but who is to say that won’t change in a couple months when I feel really good and am itching to get back out there?” Arriola told Steven Goff of The Washington Post. “If the season gets pushed back, there is a high possibility I could return. That’s just me. November 24 is nine months [since surgery]. I don’t know what is going to happen, how this all plays out.”

The exact parameters of the 2020 season aren’t locked in, though few things are during the novel coronavirus-paused world. But the lingering possibilities spark hope that Arriola could factor in alongside offseason additions such as Edison Flores and Julian Gressel.

Arriola, 25 and a Designated Player for D.C., addressed a similar topic last month with’s Tom Bogert:

Arriola said he won't rush back just for the sake of rushing back, and feels as though he has "10-plus years left to play." He also wants to firmly be himself when he returns, the same explosive, persistent and tireless winger that's earned a key role for club and country. 

“But all I want to do is play soccer," he admitted after waxing about the dangers of returning too soon. 

For more from Arriola in Goff’s story, check out the entire piece here