Jacob Peterson - Sporting KC v Montreal Impact - Sept 22, 2012

Peterson working hard to return from offseason shoulder surgery

Jacob Peterson has already waited once for his right shoulder to let him play again. That doesn't make the second time any easier.

“It's never easy taking your time, especially for me,” Peterson told reporters on Monday. “I always want to get back out there.”

That's just what the forward did in 2012, his first season with Sporting Kansas City. After going down with a shoulder sprain in late July, Peterson put off surgery and was able to play down the stretch – even earning Goal of the Week honors for his strike against Philadelphia in the regular-season finale.

Now, after having the shoulder surgically repaired in November, Peterson is working to stay fit while he waits to begin upper-body strength training.

“The joint and the ligaments are healed,” he said. “Now it's just getting the range of motion back and building the strength, because I lost about 10-15 pounds when I had the surgery because I couldn't do anything with the upper body for 8-10 weeks. It's a slow process for sure, but hopefully it'll come back pretty soon.”

Not as soon as Peterson would like, most likely – especially after scoring a career-high four goals last season and winning over fans with his gritty, high-energy play.

“He's getting fitter, because he's able to run and do all those types of things, and he's doing some soccer stuff,” manager Peter Vermes said. “But I would say, my personal opinion is it's probably going to take a couple months, just because he's got to get all of his strength back and then he's got to get on the field and go through that process as well.”

Peterson recognizes the need to build his muscles back up: “I've been running for four weeks now, so I can build a good base of fitness, but one of my areas where I was always pretty good at was my strength and being able to hold guys off. That's obviously something I've lost in the last couple of months. I don't think it'll be too difficult to get that back.”

And with Sporting's loaded schedule this season, including a spot in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League, Peterson knows there should be plenty of playing time awaiting him and his fresh legs when he returns.

“Of course I have my own mental timetable, but it's more playing it by ear and seeing how it feels,” he said. “It's a long season, so there's really no need to push it at the start.”