Omar Gonzalez resumes full training, eyes a return within the month

Gonzalez's ACL injury scuppered his chances of a move to the Bundesliga as well as piercing a hole in the Galaxy's once-imposing backline.
CARSON, Calif. -- Omar Gonzalez completed a 45-minute scrimmage against the Galaxy Academy on Monday, two days after the LA Galaxy shipped four goals against the San Jose Earthquakes.

The central defender tore his ACL while on trial with Nuremberg in January and has been out since.

"I've been back in full training for about two weeks, two and a half weeks. It's been feeling pretty good," Gonzalez said on Monday. "I feel I'm getting stronger every single day."

The U.S. international mentioned that he felt a little tired after the scrimmage. Now the rehabilitation process will focus on fitness, with Gonzalez calling the return date "a moving target." He's shooting for some game-time "hopefully at the end of this month or maybe next month."

"The last thing you want to do is wait for a guy six months then rush him one or two weeks," Landon Donovan said.

If the Galaxy are patient, it is for Gonzalez's sake, not because the team doesn't need him. Last season, with the 23-year-old as a mainstay on the backline, Los Angeles conceded 28 goals total and kept 17 clean sheets during the MLS regular season. Halfway through the 2012 season LA has already leaked 27 goals, keeping only two clean sheets.

Both of those came last week, with the Galaxy winning three games in a row coming out of the international break. However, a crushing 4-3 loss to the 'Quakes snapped any momentum built up. "There were a couple individual breakdowns in this game that were unacceptable," Bruce Arena said, pointing out set piece marking as a particular area of concern from the "sloppy" match.

So the sight of Gonzalez's 6-foot-5 frame training without issues is a welcome one for the Galaxy.

"I feel great, my knee feels great," Gonzalez said. "Some spots are a little tender, but it's still the overall healing process going on. Once I'm out there I don't have any restrictions."

The defender mentioned one hiccup in his recovery, which came last week when Clarence Seedorf was training with the side.

"He took a shot and I tried to block it. It twisted my foot, twisted my knee," Gonzalez said. But the repaired leg held up. "That was actually a good little scare because it made me feel like my knee's good, my knee's ready."

Gonzalez looked relaxed. He answered questions calmly, politely, one hand holding his wrist in front of him. The 2011 MLS Defender of the Year, despite his age, doesn't appear to have the anxiousness or impatience that plagues others who suffer long-term injuries. He called the few months away from the squad "a little bit of fresh air."

"It wasn't really that traumatic of an event," he said. "It happened, I was over it, and I was looking towards my recovery the whole time. All of my friends and family were behind me. It was a pretty easy process.

"I'd say the only thing frustrating is getting my cartilage to heal. That was the only thing slowing me down really – making sure my cartilage was healed right. Once that was pretty much healed everything was up and up."

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