Jordan Morris' charge to return to the field in 2021 has reached its final stages, and the Seattle Sounders' attacker could be eligible for selection as soon as his club's road matchup with Houston Dynamo FC on Saturday night (8:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+).
Head coach Brian Schmetzer provided that update after Seattle's Wednesday training session at Starfire Sports Complex, where Morris wasn't training with the team, but at a doctor's appointment. Schmetzer relayed that Morris was aiming to receive clearance to return to full training before traveling to meet up with the team in Houston.
Morris has been training with the Sounders in recent weeks and is nearing full capacity, pending medical approval.
"He's at his doctor to get final clearance to come back in absolute full, full, full training. That's where he's at. He will meet us in Houston," Schmetzer said. "We will hear from the doctors what they say, but I know what our medical staff is saying, that he has to complete X amount of training and he'll be eligible for selection.
"The first step of that is to get doctor's clearance to get to absolutely full training. And we'll ramp him up very quickly because he's already done a lot of the hard work already. It's not going to be a massive amount of time, and when they tell me, we'll get him back out there."
Asked if that ensured Morris had a chance at seeing the field against the Dynamo, Schmetzer pumped the brakes a bit, saying a likelier scenario is he'll wait to deploy Morris until he compiles more full training sessions. But the coach also didn't fully rule it out, saying he'll evaluate it after hearing the results of Morris' doctor visit.
"That's probably my decision that it's probably a little early, I need him to get through a couple training sessions," Schmetzer said. "But he's going to meet us down there and he's a tough kid. And if the doctors [clear him], who knows?"
Morris hasn't played in an MLS match this season after tearing his ACL last February while on loan with Championship side Swansea City. Should he make his return down the stretch or in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, it would be a huge addition for a Seattle side that has stayed atop the Western Conference table and clinched a 13th straight postseason bid in his absence. The 26-year-old homegrown could also work his way back into the US men's national team picture for World Cup Qualifiers, holding 10 goals in 39 caps pre-injury.
For his Sounders' career, Morris has 35 goals and 20 assists in 105 league games. He was named the MLS Comeback Player of the Year in 2019 after scoring 10 goals and dishing out seven assists upon returning from an ACL injury in his other knee.