FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – After spending much of his rookie season warding off the effects of a left ankle injury, New England defender A.J. Soares believes he has finally found the path to pain-free movement.
Soares underwent season-ending arthroscopic surgery to cure his ills last week. As he watched the Revs go through their paces earlier this week, the rookie defender said he had little choice but to conclude his season a few weeks earlier than expected.
“All year, I've been having ankle pain,” Soares told MLSsoccer.com. “Just recently, I had an MRI. They really wanted to look in there. They thought it could be a little more serious than they originally thought, so they said we should do the surgery now, really, because it'll give you the best chance of being ready for next season.”
The extent of the injury – a knock first suffered during the Revolution's preseason trip to Atlanta – may prove somewhat of a surprise given Soares' success this season. The Rookie of the Year candidate said the injury impacted his athleticism, but he soldiered through the waxing and the waning of the pain associated with the bone spurs in his ankle.
“The pain depended from game to game,” Soares said. “Some games, it'd be really horrible and it'd really bother me. Other games, I didn't feel it at all. What I noticed is that it was affecting my athleticism a little bit, my jumping and my quickness. Those are things I would generally pride myself in, but I could feel that slipping with the lack of ankle flexion and strength.”
Soares said he feels confident that those assets will completely return once he completes the rehabilitation process. It will take approximately 6-8 weeks for Soares to fully recover from the surgery and a winter's worth of work to get back to top form, but he said he will do whatever it takes to make sure he is ready for the 2012 campaign.
“[The surgery] turned out to be the best case scenario,” Soares said. “I'll be full go come preseason.”
Lekic, Nyassi could return for Toronto
Although Soares will not feature in either of the final two games of the season, two of his teammates could make their long-awaited return to the lineup.
Rajko Lekic (left ankle sprain) and Sainey Nyassi (knee/hamstring) could return in time for the season-ending fixture at Toronto FC next weekend, according to Revolution coach Steve Nicol. Lekic has not featured in the past three games, while Nyassi has not played in the past nine matches.
While Lekic may have to wait until next weekend to return to the fold, Nyassi could even make the squad for Saturday's date with Columbus if his progress continues.
“He'll probably be ready for Toronto, but he also might have 20 minutes in him for Saturday,” Nicol said about Nyassi. “We'll see.”
French connection continues?
The process of evaluating potential additions for next season continued this week as the Revs welcomed trialists Nicolas Dieuze and Théophile Junior N'Tamé into their squad for the week.
Former Toulouse mainstay Dieuze, 32, operates primarily as a central midfielder, while former Stade Brestois defender N'Tamé, 26, plays as a central defender or as a right back.
Two Revolution Academy players included in US Under-17 squad
Guy Kabala (Manchester, N.H.) and Declan McCabe (Weston, Mass.) have earned a spot in the 22-man US U-17 squad for the 2011 Albir Garden Sports Cup.
Kabala and McCabe carved out a place in the travel party with their performances in the US U-17 residency camp held at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.