Photo by Tim Bouwer/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
BOCA RATON, Fla. — Alex Morgan paid a quick visit to the U.S. Women’s National Team earlier this week, but exactly when she will be able to return to the squad and resume full training is still a bit unclear.
U.S. head coach Tom Sermanni gave an update on Friday on the status of Morgan, the star forward who is in the midst of returning from a left ankle injury that has proven more than troublesome. Morgan has missed the last few U.S. camps because of a stress reaction, but she joined her international teammates for the first time in months this past week so that the U.S. staff could check on her.
Morgan, who just recently got off crutches, did not do any ball work during her brief stay in South Florida. Instead, the Portland Thorns striker did a lot of biking, swimming and upper body work.
“Good. A lot more and a lot better frame of mind,” said Sermanni on how Morgan is doing. “It’s a nasty little injury that she had, a rare injury, if you like, when you get these sort of stress fractures in areas where there’s very little blood supply. I think early in the healing process she was obviously very frustrated and she could do very little, because we really had to keep a boot on and she was very, very limited in what she could do.
“She’s kind of come over that first hump. The latest MRI, she’s made positive improvements on that. She’s back doing a lot more activity, so she’s a far better frame of mind and looking healthy and feeling healthy and feeling better.”
While Morgan is making strides, the timetable of her recovery is still somewhat fuzzy. Morgan is set to undergo another MRI in early March and that will be a big indicator of when she could return.
Sermanni is not sure when the 24-year-old Morgan could resume full training, but said that if all goes well with her upcoming MRI she could be back to partaking in some team drills in a few weeks.
“We’re hoping the next MRI is a really, really positive one,” said Sermanni. “If all goes positively, we hope she’s back by mid-March.”
The loss of Morgan these last few months has not been ideal for the Americans, who are gearing up for World Cup qualifiers later this year. Still, her absence has helped the U.S. learn quite a bit about other players on the roster and that might come in handy down the road.
“I think what we’ve found and what we continue to find is the strength of the depth of this team and you’re going to need that for a World Cup,” said forward Abby Wambach. “You have seven games, 23-player roster, and every player on the roster is going to have to play and make a difference. Not just be a filler, but to come on the field and do well for their country.”
Here’s a video from U.S. Soccer of Morgan discussing her recovery:
What do you think of this news? When do you see Morgan returning to full training? Agree that her absence has helped the U.S. identify other players capable of stepping up?
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