It’s a bye week for Toronto FC but team trainers are still working overtime.
Toronto (3-3-0) has had as many as 10 players getting treatment this week. The good news is that star striker Jermain Defoe ran past reporters Thursday, after working out separately from the main squad under bright sunshine at the team’s north Toronto training ground.
Defender Doneil Henry has also resumed light training after a calf and knee injury.
Defoe (hamstring) and Henry have both missed the last three games.
Midfielder Michael Bradley, who played in Saturday’s 2-1 road loss against FC Dallas, did not practise Thursday. He had a previously scheduled minor procedure on a nerve issue in his foot which has been bothering him for some time.
“It just means he’s just got to get off it (the foot) for a week,” said manager Ryan Nelsen. “This was always planned, to do it at this time when we have a couple of weeks off.”
Bradley, who did not look himself against Dallas, had missed the previous game against Colorado due to quadricep and groin issues.
Midfielder Jeremy Hall is a longer-term injury concern, however, with an Achilles injury.
Most of Toronto’s walking wounded should be back in practice next week with Bradley and Defoe both expected to be available for selection for TFC’s next outing, May 3 against the visiting New England Revolution.
New England (2-3-2) hosts defending champion Sporting Kansas City this weekend.
Toronto may still not have a full deck next week but it will be far better than the 11 fit players it had at one practice session this week.
Goalkeeper Julio Cesar and defenders Mark Bloom and Justin Morrow are the only TFC players to have seen action in all six games this season. Nelsen has been forced to use 20 different players.
Henry, for one, is taking his return slowly. What was advertised as a jarred knee was actually a low-grade medial collateral ligament sprain and calf tear.
He has spent a week running and is now testing the leg out by jumping and changing directions.
“So far, so good,” he said. “I feel good. So hopefully I can start training with the team next week.”
He had been feeling his knees and ankles for some time but said he was sidelined after his knee buckled while about to pass the ball.
After playing four of its first six games on the road, Toronto now plays five of its next seven at home including an Amway Canadian Championship date with Vancouver.