WASHINGTON – D.C. United clinched a spot in the MLS Cup playoffs for the first time in five years on Saturday, and there could be even better news coming down the pipe: Team captain and 2011 MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario could be back in the picture should D.C. go far in the postseason.
“[If we have a] very, very extended [run], I would say there’s probably a chance,” head coach Ben Olsen said at the conclusion of his press conference following D.C.'s playoff-clinching victory over Columbus on Saturday.
De Rosario suffered a grade III MCL sprain while playing for the Canadian national team on Sept. 11. Two days later, D.C. United announced he was expected to miss 10-12 weeks, a crushing blow as the club looked to reverse its recent postseason hex.
But the star attacker has made encouraging progress in his recovery. DeRo worked out at a training session last week for the first time since his injury. During the session, roughly five weeks removed from spraining his MCL, he did some light jogging and dribbling.
“I don’t know if anybody knows right now where he’s at,” Olsen said. “He is progressing quickly. I’ve told my trainers and doctors, ‘You tell me the day he’s ready to go.’ I’ve got a job to do and we can’t rely on [him coming back], but it sure would be nice to see him back because that means we were very, very deep into the playoffs.”
If De Rosario were to come back on the earlier side of his estimated layoff, it would put his return somewhere near Nov. 22, which could potentially mean he’d be available to play in the MLS Cup final on Dec. 1, should D.C. make it that far. The second leg of the Eastern Conference Championship would be played on either Nov. 17 or 18.