Houston's Brian Ching
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Houston's Ching sidelined with rib cartilage injury

HOUSTON – X-rays taken Monday revealed that Houston Dynamo captain Brian Ching has cartilage damage in his left rib cage, which could take two to four weeks to fully heal.

Ching was involved in several collisions – including two notable ones were with New York goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul – in last Saturday’s match against New York. However, the serious pain did not immediately hit Ching. It was only when he began running up field that the big striker crumpled to the ground.

“I got hit a couple of times and didn’t think anything of it, but I was running up the field and went to make a cut and I felt a pop and couldn’t move or breathe after that,” Ching said. “The trainer came out and when I was on the ground, I felt it pop again and the pain wasn’t as bad. I thought I could play and as soon as I went out and turned, I felt the pop again and realized I was done.”

The official diagnosis of Ching's injury is costochondral separation, the result of cartilage damage that causes the rib to separate or to feel dislocated from the sternum.

[inline_node:321596]After missing Monday’s training session to get X-rayed, Ching returned Tuesday and did some light ball and fitness work but nothing involving cutting.

Ching said he is “probably” out of Sunday’s match vs. Vancouver at Robertson Stadium but understands that he has to be at 100 percent to be able to be effective.

“I can’t miss all week and jump back into a competitive game and risk getting hurt again,” Ching said. “Obviously I want to play, but I understand that I have to be ready and healthy before I can contribute. We should know more about the match from the way I feel on Friday or Saturday.”

The veteran striker is encouraged by the way he feels, but the team will not rush him back onto the pitch.

“At this point, it’s a matter of pain tolerance and how he feels with the injury as far as when he gets back,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear.

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.