Reigning Major League Soccer MVP Carlos Vela has a grade 2 Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) injury to his left knee and will be out for an unspecified length of time, LAFC coach Bob Bradley confirmed on Tuesday.
Mexican Vela picked up the injury close to the hour mark in LAFC’s 2-0 loss to city rival LA Galaxy last Saturday in his first MLS game since March 9, with the 31-year-old missing the MLS is Back Tournament in Florida for personal reasons.
“It’s a grade 2 MCL,” explained Bradley in a video press conference. “It happens on the play where he cuts inside somewhere around the 55th minute as he tries to shoot. [Emiliano] Insua steps up and so that MCL opens up a little bit.
“It’s an injury that we see in football many times and now we just need to evaluate him week by week,” continued the former United States men’s national team head coach. “Often times with a MCL the player is able to start running straight ahead pretty quickly, but the timeframe is really determined as he gets into cutting and striking the ball as to how long it will take, so we don’t have an answer on that.”
Vela will be out for LAFC’s game against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday as the MLS regular season continues, although the left-footed forward remains in good spirits.
“Yes, he’s disappointed, he would’ve really preferred to be with the team in Orlando [at the MLS is Back Tournament], but circumstances with his family came first,” said Bradley. “He was excited for the match the other day, (but) when you play your first match in five months it’s never easy and then it ends with a MCL that is going to slow him down again.
“But Carlos is by nature a really positive guy, somebody who is just coming in every day with a smile, always really good with his teammates and even with the difficult news it’s the same Carlos …”
Over at the Galaxy camp, Vela’s former Chivas youth teammate Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez will miss his team’s game against Seattle Sounders FC, also on Wednesday.
The Mexico national team striker is expected to begin training this week and could be ready for minutes in a week’s time, according to coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto.
“I calculate that between tomorrow [Tuesday] and the day after he’ll be training on the field [and] a week later he’ll be back,” said the Argentine on Monday. “I don’t think he’ll be ready for the weekend [game against San Jose Earthquakes] but he’ll be joining the group.”