Back in L.A., Beckham brightens the mood at Galaxy practice

The LA Galaxy weren't expecting David Beckham around for the start of the 2010 MLS season. In fact, he wasn't supposed to return to Southern California until sometime after the World Cup, if all had gone as planned.

An torn Achilles tendon, of course, wasn't in the plans, and Beckham’s fate thus sentenced him to months of inactivity and rehabilitation, while missing the World Cup and possibly a portion of the MLS season he was supposed to have been available for.

Thus, Beckham returned to the Galaxy far earlier than anyone had anticipated. The English superstar was a surprise guest at the Galaxy’s training session on Wednesday and, crutches and all, watched a portion of the team practice from a bench on the side of the Galaxy’s training field.

Beckham told a bystander he was happy to return to Southern California and was happy to see his children, and that he would not be able to stand on his own for at least four to five weeks. However, Beckham declined an interview request before hobbling towards a car, piling into the passenger's seat and driving off. His teammates, though, were excited at seeing him around.

“It was nice to see him,” Galaxy midfielder Eddie Lewis said. “He seems in good spirits. He’s probably looking forward to his recovery and the beginning of rehab but I think he’s just still coming grips to the injury, really.”

It’s unclear if Beckham will rehabilitate his injury in Southern California or not, but for the time being he's with his club. Wearing jeans, a sweatshirt and a knit cap, Beckham sat back on the bench and, crutches and all, watched the Galaxy train ahead of Saturday’s season opener against New England.

His presence, Galaxy coaches said, was meaningful even if he can’t step onto the field and knock some balls around with his teammates.

“It’s always a boost to have David around and hopefully it’s a boost for him as well,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “When David shows up today, he makes a statement that he cares.”

For Lewis, having him around at the start of the season is a bit uplifting, but not as much as it could have been.

“If he was playing on Saturday that would give me a boost but I don’t think there’s a whole lot he can do,” Lewis said. “Certainly him being here it’s nice to see him. It’s good to see him looking well and obviously the fact that he’s here and looking forward to the start of the season and supporting the guys, it would be silly to think it wasn’t a nice feeling.”