Wednesday was just the second day of preseason training for FC Dallas, but once again, one player who wasn’t going through the full session was 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira.
"El Torito" wasn’t alone on the sidelines as other regulars joining him included midfielder Daniel Cruz, captain Daniel Hernandez, center back Ugo Ihemelu and linking mid Andrew Jacobson.
Seeing Hernandez and Jacobson on the sidelines is understandable, especially since both individuals had knee surgery this off-season with the Dallas captain going under the knife some six weeks ago.
But not seeing No. 10 in training of yet is a bit disconcerting to say the least given how long ago his injury was. Sure, it’s still very early in preseason but it has been nearly nine months since Ferreira suffered a broken ankle in a game at Vancouver last April and he still isn’t back.
Maybe the biggest head scratcher of this whole situation is the fact that during the last few games of the regular season, the Colombian playmaker was practicing and FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman hadn’t ruled out a possible return in the playoffs.
Dallas’ stay in the postseason was cut terribly short by the Red Bulls and Ferreira was left with a longer off-season than the year before to recuperate. The injury, however, now appears to have been worse than was previously thought.
In fact, Ferreira's recovery was going to badly that last fall he underwent a procedure to fix his ankle for a second time. “I had a second operation on my ankle. It’s helped a lot with my ankle. I’m out here moving a lot,” Ferreira said through a translator after practice on Wednesday. “Thanks to God I’m playing the sport I love. I’m just ready to get back at it and get stronger and stronger every day.”
That procedure took place in either October or November but the Colombian workhorse admits he can’t remember exactly when he went under the knife for a second time in 2011.
There is still plenty of time for Ferreira to return and round himself into form before FCD kicks off their 2012 season against New York on March 11, but it would have been quite a sight to see the 2010 league MVP training with his teammates when preseason practice commenced on Tuesday morning at the FC Dallas Stadium complex.
The talented playmaker maintains he’s close to returning to training. “I feel good. I’m happy to be out here every day. I feel better and I’m just ready to get going and play every day,” Ferreira said.
Ferreira acknowledges that the physical part of his recovery was quite taxing, but it was another aspect of his recuperation that weighed on him the most. “It was all pretty hard. It was hard to be away from my teammates but the recuperating part of it was hard too. The hardest part was not being with these guys,” he said. “It’s hard to not be with them and being there when they needed me.”
Ever the confident No. 10, when asked if he could envision himself returning to the form he showed two seasons ago when he had eight goals and 13 assists for a team that reached the MLS Cup final for the first time in club history, Ferreira stopped short of stating emphatically that such a triumphant return was all but guaranteed.
“I hope so. I’m really working hard to get back out on the field and I think I can do that. But my plan right now is just get back on the playing field as soon as I can,” Ferreira said.
Maybe his reticence to state unequivocally that he’ll be back to his 2010 form is his own way of being a bit guarded; then again, maybe there is some serious doubt in his mind about whether or not he can return to that level.
After all, this injury was a bad one and the recovery process was quite long as well, and the fact he needed a second surgery had to inject at least some modicum of doubt into his mind about whether or not he’d ever be the same after the injury, that’s human nature.
But if FCD is to go a few rounds in the playoffs and have a shot at returning to MLS Cup for a second time in three seasons, make no mistake a healthy and impactful David Ferreira will be front and center. If he’s not the same old “El Torito,” then Dallas supporters could be in for another tough season, much like they endured in 2011.