AMSTERDAM – Recovering RB Leipzig goal shark Terrence Boyd has resumed running and is positively itching to be ready for action when the 2015-16 preseason begins this summer.
The US international tore both his anterior cruciate (ACL) and lateral collateral (LCL) ligaments in a 2.Bundesliga contest against Alfredo Morales' Ingolstadt in December. A resulting calf problem is temporarily adding steps to his rehab process, but Boyd says it shouldn't slow his return.
"It's good that I can run again, but still I have a long way to go because I have a cyst in my calf," Boyd told MLSsoccer.com by phone from Leipzig. "Water keeps running through the cyst, and it makes it uncomfortable for the knee. That sucks, but other than that, my knee is good. My goal is still to be back on the field for the preseason."
Among the bits of good news: The 24-year-old hasn't lost his notorious sense of humor.
"If I kick a ball now, it looks horrible," he said, laughing.
Boyd has also taken the shelf time to study the game closely. He watches other forwards work and how defenders react to scribble a few mental notes for use upon his return.
"I'm able to watch all the moves – how to beat the offside trap, how to get to the ball, positioning, making yourself available," he said.
Not all the lessons have been pleasant, though. Missing games while his club battles to stay in the promotion race seems much more excruciating to Boyd than any pain or demand from the actual injury.
"Actually, I hate going to home games because you could be out there playing with your team," he said. "It really hurts, it's just not funny at all. You miss the feeling of being out there with your boys fighting for a win.
"This injury taught me a lot of things about patience, about believing in yourself."
In truth, he is growing right along with RB Leipzig, each of them finding their way in their first season at the second tier of the German league system. The team has struggled mightily on the road, which is precisely why they stand eight points shy of the Bundesliga promotion sweepstakes with just seven games remaining on the schedule.
"This is really something we have to work on for the future," Boyd said. "Once we can adjust, we'll be ready to go for promotion next year."
Of course, Germany's edition of the Red Bulls will have had more games at this level under their belt by the start of next season than will Boyd. Still, the American did score three times in eight RB Leipzig games before the injury.
Combining that taste and his mental growth during rehab, he expects to be on even footing with his teammates regardless of what league they battle in come fall.
"I've been part of the process, too, so I know what it feels like," Boyd said. "I know the guys on the team. If we don't make promotion, we just have to learn and come back next season saying we have matured and we are ready now."