Landon Donovan isn't certain when he'll be ready to take the field for the LA Galaxy, but he hopes he'll be up to playing a role in the upcoming CONCACAF Champions League games against Monterrey.
Donovan, who returned this week to the the Galaxy after a nearly four-month leave of absence, says he'll need some time to get back into rhythm, but the semifinal series against the two-time defending champion is in his sights.
“I could potentially see myself playing some role,” Donovan said in a teleconference with reporters on Thursday. “I think it might be a little early to say I'm going to be playing significant minutes, but you never know. Obviously, I understand the importance of this tournament to our club and our team and our organization. And if I can contribute and I feel good, then I want to contribute.”
He said that he had targeted the April 6 MLS game against Montreal for his return, but the game was pushed back to October to clear space between the Monterrey games. LA are home against Monterrey next Wednesday, April 3, then play in Nuevo León the following week.
Donovan said there was no timetable for his first appearance. The Galaxy have one game – Saturday afternoon at Toronto FC (2 pm ET, TSN/RDS in Canada, watch on MLS Live in US) – before the Monterrey showdowns.
“I think it would be a little foolish to say when I'm going to play,” he said. “There's a lot of factors that come into that. Obviously, the team is playing well now, so I have to be respectful of that. I don't want to put a time frame on a day, and then it doesn't happen. I don't think that's fair to anybody. When I'm ready, I'll be ready.”
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The Galaxy would love if he were ready sooner than later. Robbie Keane is uncertain for the time being following a calf injury in Ireland's World Cup qualifier last week in Sweden, and LA started two teens up front in their victory last weekend over Colorado.
How close to ready is Donovan?
“I actually feel really good. My body feels as good as it's felt in a long time,” he said. “I've been very fortunate and blessed to be able to get my heart and cardio fitness back quickly every time I have an offseason or a break. So now it's just about getting the soccer part back.
"That part I've been doing my whole life, so it's kind of like riding a bike: It comes back pretty quickly. Once Bruce [Arena] feels that those two pieces are meshed and ready and I feel like I'm ready, then we'll get back on the field and start playing.”