Josef Martinez returns to Atlanta United training: "He's making a lot of progress"

Your eyes are not deceiving you, Atlanta United fans.

Star striker Josef Martinez is back in training for the Five Stripes after undergoing surgery April 8 to clean out debris in his right knee, the same knee he had season-ending ACL surgery on in 2020.

Atlanta have also upgraded Martinez on their injury report to questionable, making him potentially available for a return to action in the coming weeks.

“He's doing very good, very good,” head coach Gonzalo Pineda said midweek. “He's reintegrating to the training sessions in a partial way and he's doing stuff on the side after that. But more preparing him on the fitness side. He's making a lot of progress, so we're very happy with that.”

While a firm return date isn’t yet publicly established, it’s an encouraging sign for one of the league’s top goalscorers. The 2019 Landon Donovan MLS MVP had two goals and two assists in five games before being sidelined, with Ronaldo Cisneros emerging as Atlanta’s top striker in the meantime.

Pineda said the coaching staff’s goal is to help Martinez reach 90-minute fitness levels.

“I feel like the knee is responding very well, so we're actually very excited about that, about him being more comfortable with the knee and being able to produce more on the fitness side and physicality,” Pineda said. “We're very happy with that. We're in a positive moment in the rehab and we will see maybe next week he starts to reintegrate completely to the training sessions.”

ATLUTD have two games remaining before the June international break: this Saturday at Nashville SC (7:30 pm ET | FOX, FOX Deportes) and May 28 when hosting the Columbus Crew (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+).

Pineda’s group currently sits seventh in the Eastern Conference standings (last Audi MLS Cup Playoffs spot) as they find their attacking groove under Cisneros, Luiz Araujo, Thiago Almada and Marcelino Moreno.