LAFC star Carlos Vela has played just one of his team's nine regular-season games since mid-July, and a return doesn't seem imminent.
“He’s still certainly weeks away," head coach Bob Bradley told reporters on a virtual press conference Wednesday.
“Carlos is doing a little bit of light work on the field, not with the team," Bradley added. "He's working hard with Jason Han, our physical therapist. Different exercises.”
Vela sat out the MLS is Back Tournament when his wife was pregnant, then he suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain in LAFC's first game back from Orlando, a 2-0 loss against the LA Galaxy on August 22. The reigning Landon Donovan MLS MVP has returned to field work, but isn't close to joining full-team training just yet as LAFC prepare to face the Seattle Soundersthis Friday (10 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, on DAZN in Canada).
Vela, 31, is coming off the greatest statistical season in MLS history. The forward had 34 goals and 15 assists, breaking the single-season goals record and the single-season goals plus assists tally. He has two goals in three appearances so far in 2020, both back at the beginning of the season before the COVID-19 pandemic forced an MLS-wide pause in early March.
He limped out of LAFC's aforementioned loss to the Galaxy, and the defending Supporters' Shield champions have won just two of their six matches since returning to action.
“With MCLs, it’s tricky to try and give a timeline," Bradley said. "Even when you’re doing all of the work, the feeling of instability in the knee, depending upon how severe the tear was, it just all takes time.”
Meanwhile, 2019 Best XI midfielder Eduard Atuesta made his long-awaited return from injury in the club's 4-2 win Sunday over the Portland Timbers. It was Atuesta's first appearance since the MLS is Back Tournament, and he played 10 minutes off the bench.
Bradley said Atuesta is coming along well, but certainly won't be ready to start against Seattle this Friday.