TORONTO – After a long first season back in Major League Soccer, Toronto FC midfield general Michael Bradley appeared on crutches Friday, 10 days after undergoing an operation in New York.
According to Bradley, who had the nerve removed between the metatarsal heads in his left foot, the injury had been bothering him since twisting his ankle in the lead-up to a World Cup qualifying match against Costa Rica in 2013.
The veteran US national team midfielder spoke to a gathering of reporters on Friday and addressed the status of his health, saying he felt good after finally having the surgery at the end of the regular season.
“With so much going on in such a busy year, there was never any real time to allow it to heal,” Bradley said. “You try with different injections and different ways to take care of it, but nothing worked in terms of taking care of it permanently. I always knew that, when we got to the end of the season, that there was going to be a little bit of time to be able to take care of it.
"In the grand scheme of things, it was a pretty minor thing, but still something that just needed to be taken care of.”
Bradley was adamant that the issue didn’t have any major effect on his performances for club or country. He explained that he and Toronto FC used injections to numb any pain before a match if it ever bothered him on a particular matchday. And now with the nerve removed, Bradley is looking to move on and already has one eye on the 2015 season.
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“For a football player, your feet are your livelihood,” Bradley said. “When your feet feel good, you feel good. There was certainly days where it bothered me a bit, but as an athlete, you learn pretty quickly there are so few days that you feel perfect. Everybody has something and so you learn to train, you learn to play, you learn to get on with it.
"I think, with the way I was able to manage it and, as soon as the time came, get it taken care of, certainly now I’m excited to give it the time it needs to rest and recover from the trauma of the surgery and then be ready to go.”
The stitches on his left foot will be removed next Thursday, allowing Bradley to begin rehabbing. He confirmed that the recovery will rule him out of the USA's next two international matches against Colombia on Nov. 14 and the Republic of Ireland on Nov. 18.
Armen Bedakian covers Toronto FC for MLSsoccer.com.