DC's Chris Pontius and Real Salt Lake's Tony Beltran challenge during the Open Cup final
USA Today Sports

Chris Pontius' DC United return delayed, recovery time could be another 8-12 weeks

WASHINGTON – D.C. United fans who’ve been waiting for the return of veteran midfielder Chris Pontius will likely have to wait even longer than they’d originally anticipated.

Pontius is expected to miss 8-12 weeks with a left hamstring injury, although D.C. United has not confirmed any potential timeline for his return. He had surgery on the affected hamstring done back in November and was expected to be healthy in time for the club's first couple of matches of the campaign, but that has not been how it has played out for him or D.C. United.

"He’s seen more doctors than you know in the last several weeks,” United head coach Ben Olsen told MLSsoccer.com after training on Wednesday. "We’re trying to find what's the next path for him. That’s a frustrating process for Chris. It’s not fun for us because we’d love to have him back, but we’ve got to find out what the best move for us is to have Chris get back to playing soccer.”

D.C. have certainly missed his presence on the pitch. Through a career hampered by persistent injuries – hamstring troubles sidelined him in 2010 and a broken leg ended his season in 2011 – Pontius has still managed to show flashes of greatness, always seeming to stay on the fringe of the US men's national team picture.

Pontius' current issues don’t directly relate his hamstring. The midfielder is dealing with pain caused by scar tissue that’s formed around the sciatic nerve in his left leg, which was also operated on over the offseason. It is the type of injury that can truly test a player’s patience – something his head coach is all too familiar with.

"Believe me,” said Olsen, whose promising career was itself shortened by persistent injuries. "I’ve been in that training room as long as he has, for those types of stretches and there’s nothing worse – in the game of soccer – than being helpless and sitting in the training room with trainers and doctors and question marks surrounding an injury.

"I feel for him, I really do. We’ll get this right, it just might take a bit longer than we’d though."