TUKWILA, Wash. – It’s been about six months since Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris tore his ACL in Concacaf Champions League play – an injury the Sounders said at the time would sideline him for the entire 2018 season.
It still might, but if he continues to make steady progress in his rehab, could Morris be ready in time for a potential cameo should the Sounders make the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs?
Asked that question at Seattle’s practice at Starfire Sports Complex on Thursday, Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer didn’t rule out the possibility. Morris has been spotted at Starfire with increasing frequency in recent weeks, including on Thursday, when he did light individual work with the team trainers on the side while the Sounders practiced.
“I am [hopeful],” Schmetzer said. “He’s out here still doing all the extra work. And I would never count that kid out. I just wouldn’t.
“He hasn’t campaigned me but we’ve discussed it. So, it’s a goal. It’s a target. But it hasn’t quite been a campaign yet.”
At the moment, the Sounders have no incentive to press the issue if Morris does turn out to need all season to rehab the injury.
The club brought in Designated Player Raul Ruidiaz to fill the void up top in the summer and the Peruvian has proven up the to the task, bagging three goals and an assist since his team debut on July 21, while helping spearhead the team’s current eight-game winning streak.
Morris’ best friend on the team, midfielder Cristian Roldan, said on Thursday he “wouldn’t let him go on the field if he didn’t feel ready.” But he did add that he’s noticed an increase in positive morale from Morris as he’s ramped up his recovery, and said he knows the 23-year-old striker is itching to get back.
“I know he doesn’t want to rush into it,” Roldan said. “Jordan is a competitor and I know he wants to be on the field as much as anybody but for his sake – for his future – I think it’s best he doesn’t rush it. I know he has a good support system and mentally he’s feeling a lot better now that he’s jogging around the field and kicking the ball a little bit.”
Added Schmetzer: “When he’s ready, we’ll get him back out there. Each player that has a significant injury like that comes back at different times, different speeds, different circumstances. But the training staff is doing a very good job of trying to get him ready, and once they do their job Jordan will get back out there.”