KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The three scars on Matt Besler’s abdomen are small, but they could have a big impact on Sporting Kansas City’s backline in the coming weeks.
The central defender underwent an emergency appendectomy on Friday, and no timetable has been set for his return to the lineup.
He is expected to miss Saturday’s match against Toronto FC (8:30 pm ET; watch LIVE online), meaning he would miss league action for the first time since sitting out a 4-1 loss at LA on May 4, 2011.
“That’d be pretty quick,” Besler told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday after riding a stationary bicycle for the first time since his surgery. “It’d be pretty crazy if I played on Saturday.”
Still, Besler said, he has felt increasingly better this week and is looking forward to getting back on the pitch.
“The first couple of days, it was like, ‘This sucks. There’s no way I’m going to get back to play as soon as I want to.’ Now, I can see it. It’s coming back pretty quick.”
Still, manager Peter Vermes said, Besler won’t be rushed back before he’s fully recovered.
“It could be anywhere from a week to three weeks,” Vermes said Tuesday. “It just depends on how he comes along. Every guy’s different. We’ll monitor it as it goes. He wants to get back and play right away. It’s one of those things I can’t force.”
Besler’s absence comes at a time when Sporting’s roster is already stretched thin due to injury and international duty, but Vermes said he’s confident the backline will be solid against Toronto whether or not the center back’s return is delayed as the club embarks stretch of five matches over 14 days.
“No matter what, we’re going to have to use a bunch of guys,” he said. “My thing is just being able to manage when those guys are all returning, which trips they should be on and which games they should play in. That’ll be a little bit game-to-game because right now, we’re close to just an 18-man roster at the moment. So it’s not like I have a lot of decisions to make. It’s when those guys start returning, it’s how to use them all the way through.”
After Saturday, Sporting have away matches in Seattle on June 20 and Philadelphia on June 23. Then it’s back to Livestrong Sporting Park for a US Open Cup quarterfinal against USL Pro side Dayton on June 26 and a league match with Chicago on June 29.
“There’s a lot of games coming up, so I haven’t pinpointed exactly where I want to be at,” Besler said. “I’ll talk with Chet [North, Sporting’s head trainer] tomorrow, and we’ll pick a game and say, ‘This is our goal.’”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.