KANSAS CITY, Mo. – In one sense, this is new ground for Benny Feilhaber. In another, Sporting Kansas City's veteran midfielder has been through this sort of thing time and again.
“Ever since I can think, over the last four or five years, I've gotten one small injury a year,” Feilhaber told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Thursday. “So I miss about three or four games a year from being injured. If this injury doesn't keep me out for too long, maybe this is the perfect time where I'll be able to get back and not miss too many games.”
The good news for Sporting is that Feilhaber won't need surgery to fix his sprained left shoulder, and manager Peter Vermes hopes to have him back when his club resumes league play June 27 at Portland. In the interim, they will host the NASL's Minnesota United FC on June 18 in US Open Cup action.
“The situation now is how much pain he can tolerate, and how fast that happens,” Vermes said after Sporting resumed training on Thursday. “The good thing is that we have a little bit of a break here, and we're trying everything we can to get all the guys back for the next [MLS] game. I don't know if that's realistic, but that's the goal. We'll see where it goes.”
Feilhaber sustained the sprain late in the first half of last Friday's 2-0 win at Houston, when he landed awkwardly after being tackled hard by Eric Brunner. The tackle came just after Feilhaber sent a ball to the left flank that Soony Saad buried for his first goal of the season and the eventual match-winner.
“I didn't know what it was, because I've never injured my shoulder,” Feilhaber said. “But I knew something was wrong because of the pain I felt right away. It felt like something popped out of place, something like that. I didn't know what it was, though.”
Feilhaber successfully argued with Vermes to be left in until the end of the half, but was subbed out for Sal Zizzo after the break.
“I thought maybe if I could get through the half, there was some kind of strap I could put on to help the pain that I could get through it,” he said. “But I could tell, within the three to four minutes I was walking around, that it wasn't going to be possible.”
Brunner received a yellow card on the play, and Feilhaber did not argue on Thursday that the defender should have been sent off instead.
“To be honest, when the play happened, I didn't know we had scored,” he said. “I was pretty preoccupied with just supporting my shoulder. I didn't know what the call was, that we'd scored, whatever. So I don't have too much of a reaction to that. It was a tough tackle, for sure, but I think a little bit unlucky for me to land on my shoulder.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting KC for MLSsoccer.com.