OBETZ, Ohio — Columbus Crew fans have two questions concerning Eddie Gaven, with the first being when the tireless midfielder will return after suffering a leg injury Aug. 5 at Colorado.
“The target at this point is one of the games next week,” Gaven said. “Whether that actually happens, I don’t know.”
Gaven is definitely out for Saturday’s home game against Toronto FC but may be available by Sept. 14 vs. Houston or Sept. 17 at Philadelphia.
The second thing fans want to know is how Frank is doing, since they haven’t seen Gaven play or practice in awhile.
“Frank” is the name Gaven, who can grow a 5 o’clock shadow by noon, has given his scraggly beard.
“Frank is still with me,” Gaven said. “He’s probably going to have to go pretty soon, though. I’m looking quite haggardly.”
Letting his beard grow was all Gaven could do immediately after getting kicked in the right calf area by Colorado’s Jeff Larentowicz.
“It’s on the lower outside part of my right leg,” he said. “It’s actually like a bone bruise. I got hit in a really weird area where there’s not too much muscle there. It went right onto my bone. It hurt a lot, to be honest with you. It’s starting to feel better now, obviously.
“I thought it would heal a little bit quicker, but doctors say after an injury like this, it’s the normal time period,” he added.
The Crew are 2-1 in his absence, but coach Robert Warzycha is still eager to have the steady Gaven return. Not only had he started all 23 games prior to the injury, but he had four goals and was leading the league in fouls suffered with 54 (he is second now).
“He keeps the ball,” Warzycha said. “He gets us the fouls in good areas. You have to keep marking him all the time because he is always moving. Eddie is a player who is very consistent and does good things on the field.”
Warzycha would love to have Gaven for all the games in this upcoming busy stretch, but realizes that’s not possible.
“He’s a guy that, if you have [a schedule like] we have right now — Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday — he would be the one that could go all three games,” said Warzycha.
Gaven is looking forward to helping the Crew (11-8-7) hold first place in the Eastern Conference with eight games remaining.
“Hopefully when I’m back, since I haven’t really been getting beat up on the field the past month,” said Gaven, “I’ll be back fresh and ready to go.”