TUKWILA, Wash. – After leaving the Sounders’ second game with a calf injury, Brad Evans thought he might need a couple of days rest.
Instead, Evans has been sidelined for a month, missing not only four games for Seattle, but also what for him was a crucial chance to impress U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
Now, a little later than he’d hoped, Evans is expected to return to action when the Sounders play at Chivas USA on Saturday.
“It’s just good to be back outside again and not watching from the sideline,” Evans said after practicing Thursday.
Before he was able to return to the practice field, Evans stayed in shape by, well, we’ll let him explain it: “I broke the rowing machine like three times these past four weeks out of frustration.”
The midfielder has been off the rowing machine and back to practicing all week, and while Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said he hasn’t yet decided whether or not Evans will start Saturday, he should at least be available.
“He’s come through all of the practices this week really well, so I think he’s 100 percent healthy,” Schmid said. “Is he 100 percent fit to go 90 minutes? Maybe not, but that will come shortly.”
What made Evans’ extended absence all the more surprising was that it wasn’t expected. Evans took a kick to his calf during Seattle’s Week 2 loss to Toronto, and didn’t even immediately come out of the game. That injury, called a contusion at the time, wasn’t thought to be serious, but as Schmid noted, Evans may have pushed too hard to get back quickly, and an eventual MRI showed a hematoma had formed in his calf.
Evans, one of the few Sounders left from the team’s inaugural 2009 season and one of their most important players, has been missed, though Seattle did manage to go 2-1-1.
“Brad’s the kind of guy when he’s on the field… he’s one of the guys who’s organizing and talking to people and directing people,” Schmid said. “When Brad’s not in there, that’s the part of it that you miss sometimes.”
“It’s frustrating,” Evans said. “You hate to give your chance (at national team) away to somebody else. That’s the reality of it. But the focus now is Sounders.”