FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Surgery beckoned for Matt Reis on Monday. He grasped the extent of the torn left quadriceps sustained in the final minutes of New England's season-ending 3-1 defeat at Sporting Kansas City less than a week ago. He knew the ramifications of the operation to repair the torn tendon in his leg. He understood the lengthy recovery period ahead.
He just didn't quite know how to process the potential impact on his future quite yet.
Reis, 38, searched for answers as he addressed those issues over the weekend. They haven't arrived yet. They might not arrive immediately, either. The severity of his injury and the expected five- to seven-month rehabilitation period leave plenty of room for resolution and soul searching as the veteran goalkeeper ponders whether he should continue his career.
“It's a lot of question marks,” Reis told MLSsoccer.com as the Revs completed their exit physicals on Saturday. “It's a lot of tough decisions that have to be made on everyone's part. We'll have to see what happens moving forward. If I did play my last game, then I'm happy with my performance and that I did leave it all on the field. I was able to walk off the field with my head held high.”
It is not a decision he plans to leave in the hands of his medical team. At this point, it is down to Reis and his family to decide whether he wants to pursue a return or call time on his career. His performances this season – including an unblemished 7-0-4 record during the regular season – suggest he can still perform at this level, but he insists he only wants to return if he can replicate those feats in the wake of this injury.
“It doesn't really have anything to do with the doctors,” Reis said. “It has everything to do with me. If I feel I still have something left to prove – whether it's just getting over this injury and being able to play. But, for me, I also want to play at a high level.
"I don't want to come out here and go through the motions. I want to still be able to play at the level I've been playing at. It's to be seen whether I'll get the opportunity to do it. It's such a long recovery that it's going to be a difficult decision for the organization as to what we're doing going forward.”
That edict – from either club or player – has not come down yet. Reis isn't sure what path he will choose. He said he hasn't reached that point in his process. The injury is too fresh and the fall-out is too substantial to weigh in a matter of days.
Reis will have some time to contemplate whether this is it or this is the start of another chapter as he recuperates. He will assess his options carefully and choose the wisest course. And once he does, he will have the answer he needs to move forward one way or the other.