As injuries mount, Toronto FC reveal Jozy Altidore could return soon

TORONTO – Though bitten badly by the injury bug, Toronto FC have reason for optimism despite learning that two more players – Michael Bradley and Will Johnson – have been sidelined.

It was announced on Friday that both Bradley and Johnson will not be available for the next six weeks because of injuries suffered over the past week. Bradley and Johnson join Jozy Altidore and Clint Irwin on the trainer's table after the striker picked up a hamstring injury in mid-May and the goalkeeper sustained a quadriceps problem last weekend against Orlando.

The positive? Neither Bradley nor Johnson's injury was as bad as first feared.

Bradley suffered a knee sprain during the third-place match in the Copa America Centenario, requiring on-field treatment. He continued for nearly an hour before subbing off in the 1-0 loss to Colombia.

“It's not too serious,” said Greg Vanney on Friday. “Just needs time to heal itself – not a surgery. It's a strange injury; he feels the stability is there. It's almost a precaution to make sure that that ligament gets a chance to heal.”

Johnson's tibial plateau fracture came in a much more dramatic fashion: scoring a 95th-minute goal in Vancouver to give the Reds the Canadian Championship on Wednesday.

Having suffered a broken leg in 2014, there were fears for the worst when the Canadian midfielder went down after appearing to hyperextend his knee in a collision with Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted. Another break? Ligament damage?

“There was a spectrum, from a bruise to something much, much worse,” said Vanney. “We're disappointed, but not totally. We're going to miss him, but it could have been worse. He'll get better and be back shortly.”

Like Bradley and Johnson, Irwin too was given a six-week timeline for his return, while two more of TFC's walking wounded – Daniel Lovitz and Ashtone Morgan  are on schedule.

“Everybody is progressing,” said Vanney. “It's strange, everybody is on a similar time-line: a few more weeks.”

There was some good news to go along with the bad.

Steven Beitashour, who missed Wednesday's game with a variety of knocks, is back in training, while Damien Perquis, troubled by knee issues, is once again available. So too is Mark Bloom.

But the Altidore front was the most intriguing.

“Jozy is real close,” said Vanney. “He's not in the mix for tomorrow. [We're] hoping to get him back into training sessions next week and maybe there's some availability. We're going to make the decision that is most appropriate for the long haul.” 

While some may call for panic, Drew Moor at least, sees no reason to.

“This is a very deep team,” he said. “We've had to use a lot of bodies. A team's depth is always tested, especially this time of year. We've shown that no matter who we put out there, we have confidence in each other and expect to get results.”

“It's a grind, MLS is,” Moor continued. “You never want to lose anybody to injury, especially such important players, but that's when the role players have to step up, be leaders and take control.  We have plenty of guys willing to.” 

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