UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – The injury bug has bitten the New York Red Bulls hard in recent weeks, and many of the walking wounded are still at least a week away from returning to the practice field.
Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe on Tuesday gave an update on eight players that are currently dinged up, including the hamstring strain suffered by Thierry Henry in last Saturday’s 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution.
Doctors examined Henry on Monday, and the good news for the Red Bulls is that the injury is not more severe than originally feared. The bad news? Henry is still expected to miss up to a month.
“He did a scan yesterday, so as we said it looks like three, four weeks,” Backe told MLSsoccer.com after Tuesday’s training session.
Three other players expected to be out for the upcoming games against the LA Galaxy, Houston Dynamo and Philadelphia Union are Wilman Conde, Teemu Tainio and Stephen Keel. Conde is recovering from a groin strain, Tainio is recuperating from a knock to his knee and Keel is nursing a stress fracture in his back.
“Wilman is doing well, so I guess he is back in training in two weeks,” said Backe. “Teemu, as we said direct after the injury, it is about six weeks, so he probably has two, three more weeks. That stress fracture [to Keel] is a little bit difficult to say, but probably we said around three to four weeks since he got the injury, so it’s the same.”
There is good news on the horizon for the shorthanded Red Bulls, however, as they should get a trio of players back within the next week.
Backe said right back Jan Gunnar Solli (toe/calf) and forward Juan Agudelo (knee) could possibly practice on Thursday before the team departs for Los Angeles, and left back Roy Miller (knee) should resume training before next week’s midweek home game vs. the Dynamo.
If Agudelo does play against the defending champion Galaxy this Saturday at Home Depot Center, Backe mentioned it would be no more than 20 to 25 minutes, given the young US international’s fitness.
But not having Agudelo – as well as injured reserve forward Jose Angulo – as starting options does not necessarily mean Backe is going to go into LA planning to trot out a one-forward formation.
“I don’t know really yet,” said Backe. “It depends, of course, because Jhonny Arteaga has done quite well when he’s come on from bench. Agudelo will train on Thursday, so I will say that we have options to play with two strikers. This week we’ll see how it looks.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.