CARSON, Calif. – Starting defender A.J. DeLaGarza is out, and there is still no word on Landon Donovan's bruised left knee, but the LA Galaxy's little end-of-season injury crisis is definitely improving.
Robbie Keane returned to practice Thursday, showing no effects from the Achilles' injury that kept him out of the first of two Ireland World Cup qualifiers the past week. And Christian Wilhelmsson says he's healthy and fit after his return from Sweden's qualifiers following a calf strain.
But the best news of all may be that left back Todd Dunivant says he's ready to go when LA takes on San Jose on Sunday (7 pm ET, Galavision) after missing out on the loss to Real Salt Lake a week and a half ago with hip and oblique injuries.
“Feeling good,” Dunivant reported following Thursday's session at the Home Depot Center. “I did really intense fitness with the team Thursday and Friday last week and trained Monday-Tuesday, we had Wednesday off, and trained today, and feeling great. Don't feel any ill effects and really looking forward to the weekend.”
With DeLaGarza sidelined with a sprained MCL, Dunivant's presence is critical in a must-win game. He'll line up opposite San Jose winger Marvin Chávez, whose ability to get behind backlines and serve the ball is pivotal for the Earthquakes' vibrant attack.
WATCH: Dunivant scores vs. Dallas
“Chávez has had a really fantastic season,” Dunivant said. “He's flown under the radar somehow for as well as he's played. He's so dangerous and so quick and fast and direct and good at cutting inside and shooting the ball with his left [foot]. If you give him too much space, he can beat you to the line. ... You want to try and limit his touches as much as possible. The more touches he has, the better off they're going to be.
“That's goal number one, and once he gets [the ball], you have to do a good job of containing, keep him in front of you. Once he gets in behind, you're not catching him.”
Dunivant has known for more than a week that he'd be ready to go up against Chávez and San Jose. He injured his hip in the Sept. 30 draw at Colorado, then strained oblique muscles in training the following week, but the recovery process was seamless.
“End of last week, I knew with the fitness and everything,” Dunivant said. “I really felt like I kind of jumped the hurdle and was able to fully sprint and do everything full out, and no ill effects. Never felt any more pull or strain with it. I really felt confident going into [last] weekend.”
Scott French covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com.