CARSON, Calif. — It's official, finally: Landon Donovan's injury is a bruised knee, and he could return to the LA Galaxy lineup as soon as Sunday at San Jose.
The Galaxy captain, who hurt his left knee near the end of the Galaxy's loss 10 days ago to Real Salt Lake, has been listed as “questionable” for the San Jose match, and should at least be available by the regular-season finale Oct. 28 against Seattle.
Either way, it’s a much better diagnosis than once feared when the Galaxy star went down late during LA’s 2-1 loss to RSL on Oct. 16.
“We're taking it a day at a time with Landon,” head coach Bruce Arena said following the Galaxy's training session Tuesday morning at the Home Depot Center. “And we're hopeful he'll be back in the near future.”
Arena called the bruise a “short-term injury” and noted that the Galaxy has “a day off [Wednesday, and we'll] see how he is on Thursday.”
Donovan worked out in the HDC gym Tuesday and was not made available to the media.
He landed hard on the knee after a challenge from RSL defender Jámison Olave, walked gingerly to the Galaxy bench, then said that it “didn't feel good” when asked after the game if he had a feel for how bad ithe injury might be.
But after substantial improvement the following day, he traveled to Miami to join the US national team before its World Cup qualifiers against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala.
After USSF doctors conducted tests, however, they sent him back to Los Angeles. Donovan underwent an MRI last Thursday and Arena knew the extent of the injury by Friday, but he declined comment until Tuesday morning.
“[The injury is] not a big deal ...,” he said when asked why the Galaxy had hidden the prognosis. “We had the weekend off. We're relaxing. We had no game to play. What do we care what the reporters [want] and how specific it needs to be. ... There was no rush. We had no game, right?
“The national team gave their opinion, and we took our time and evaluated him and didn't rush to any kind of judgment and haven't,” he added. “These things, you never know what they're like. But we don't think it's anything that critical that we need to be giving notices on the hour on his condition.”
Donovan's teammates, not surprisingly, were very pleased the injury wasn't serious.
“That's huge,” midfielder Mike Magee said. “I think when we all saw Landon laying on the ground, our hearts dropped, because you know how important Landon is, and he's not a guy who tends to embellish injuries to that extent. I think we all thought that was going to be pretty painful for the whole team.”
Magee said he knew pretty quickly that Donovan was relatively OK.
“Sometimes he lies. Sometimes he tells you he's OK or he tells you he's hurt,” Magee said. “He's always playing little games. I think a couple days later, seeing him in the gym, seeing the way that he's moving, you knew it would take a lot more than that to keep him off.”