AMSTERDAM – Bolton midfielder Stuart Holden is back at the club as he enters the final stage of recovery from knee surgery, with manager Dougie Freedman hoping to see his full training return in early February.
The 28-year-old, whose most recent setback was a torn right ACL in this past summer's Gold Cup final, has played just nine matches for the club since originally injuring the knee near the end of his 2010-11 Bolton Player of the Year campaign.
"If we're being honest, he's still got a long way to go," Freedman told the club website. "Knowing Stuart and his mentality, he's working as hard as he possibly can to get back out there. The plan is pretty straight forward. Stuart is back over here to spend a few weeks with our medical guys.
"We'll see where he is, and then he'll head back to the US to continue his rehabilitation. The main reason for that is because he's already started his rehab work over there. The weather is also better for him to work in. Once he has made significant progress on that front, probably about six to eight weeks, he'll then come back to us to step up the work on the football side of things."
The coach and his teammates always seem to light up when Holden rejoins the team from a long layoff, and this weekend's return to the Reebok was no exception.
"It's great to have Stuart Holden back in the building with us," said Freedman. "He brings a great quality to our group when he's in and around the place."
Operating without the former Hoston Dynamo star, an inconsistent Bolton side stand 16th in the Championship through 20 games. Tim Ream & Co. will get back to business with Saturday's league visit from Charlton.