LEHI, Utah — Javier Morales has circled Oct. 1 on his calendar.
No, it’s not an officially planned date for Morales to step back on the field, but it’s one that he winkingly referred to as a nice time for a potential comeback.
“I think LA is a good game to come back,” the Argentine playmaker told MLSsoccer.com. “I don’t know, but I hope so. I’m working hard, more than ever. I’m trying to … come back as soon as possible.”
Whether or not the medical staff, trainers or coaches are on board, however, is another story.
"If I let him, he would play tomorrow,” Dr. Andrew Cooper told ESPN700 Sports Radio. “His ankle looks amazing.”
For now, though, Morales must wait. His rehab involves some light jogging around the practice field — which he has only just recently been able to do — and the biggest issue holding him back is the weakness in the muscles supporting the surgically repaired ankle.
“I have to work a lot on my stability,” said Morales. “When I get that [back], I’ll be ready.”
One thing is for certain: Morales is motivated.
“I need an inspiration for my life,” he said. “My inspiration now is to come back quickly. As soon as possible, for me, is the best thing.”
Morales is one of several injured players on the squad.
Forward Paulo Jr. saw his first return to action since early in the season in the 1-0 loss to Toronto on Saturday. Defender Jámison Olave trained at full strength for the first time since suffering an MCL strain in the All-Star Game and could be considered to play vs. Houston, and Ned Grabavoy returned to jogging after an adductor strain and could be ready in two or three weeks. Midfielder Nelson González, meanwhile, is out for the season with a foot fracture.
RSL’s most recent injury belongs to Chris Wingert, who broke his wrist against Toronto.
“It’s pretty classic,” said RSL trainer Tyson Pace of Wingert’s ailment. “It’s called a Colles fracture. It’s when they fall on an outstretched hand, basically, and the radius and ulna will break depending on how they land. He actually broke the styloid process on his ulna, and the head of the radius, so he kind of crushed that bone section. But what it does is dislocates, and then it steps up, and so you end up with a really nasty looking fracture.”
Wingert is just in the beginning of treatment, with the first step being to get the swelling down before they can determine how well the bones have set. However, at first glance, the belief is that surgery will not be required.
“The timeframe is usually four to six weeks,” said Pace of the recovery process. “Right now we’re looking more at the six-week range for him to be back in competitions. He’ll be casted and he’ll be able to play with a cast.”
Wingert has suffered a couple of broken wrists in the past and was able to diagnose the injury on the field.
“He’s had multiple wrist fractures in the past, just growing up, and so it was obvious the second that it broke,” explained Pace. “He recognized what it looked like. He knew exactly what had happened, and so he came off and said, ‘My wrist is broken’. It was obvious once I saw it, and so he knew what he was talking about from experience.”