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Don’t expect LAFC star Carlos Vela back for weeks yet

Still a way to go in recovery from knee injury.

San Jose Earthquakes v Los Angeles FC Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Los Angeles Football Club previously said superstar forward Carlos Vela would be out through at least “Phase 1” of the MLS regular season return to play with an MCL injury, and now we have some clarity that he’s not going to be ready for the start of “Phase 2.”

LAFC are set to take on the Seattle Sounders in Seattle on Friday, but Vela is unavailable, with head coach Bob Bradley saying the player is “weeks away” from a return to game action.

“At the moment, Carlos is doing a little bit of light work on the field, not with the team,” Bradley told reporters during the club’s pregame availability Wednesday. “Working hard with Jason Han, our physical therapist. Working inside with different exercises that they have.

“With MCL [injuries], it’s tricky to give a timeline, because even when you’re doing all the work, that feeling of instability in the knee, depending upon how severe the tear was, it just all takes time. He’s still, certainly, weeks away because at the moment it’s just individual work with Jason,” Bradley added.

Vela suffered the MCL injury in the first game of the local return to play, Aug. 22 against the LA Galaxy. Unlike ACL tears, which typically require surgery, MCL injuries often just need rest and they will repair themselves over time. The tricky thing, however, is that while the layoff from an MCL is not usually as long as an ACL injury because surgical intervention is not needed, the timeline is far less precise, as Bradley indicated. Every player is different, but he could be ready in three weeks or three months, based on how these injuries tend to go. We’ll see.

One other injury note: Bradley said Eduard Atuesta, who returned to action in Sunday’s 4-2 win over the Portland Timbers after a foot injury, is not yet in line to start against the Sounders.

“I don’t think Eduard’s ready to start yet,” Bradley said. “It was really good to get him on the field last game.”

Unlike Vela, expect Atuesta to still play against Seattle, as he’ll likely come off the bench to get some minutes again.

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