Worries have swirled about the Atlanta United fanbase since news emerged earlier this week that Josef Martinez was missing training time dealing with a sore knee that left him limping around the field in the late stages of the team’s win Saturday against DC United.
When asked by reporters at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground Thursday, head coach Gonzalo Pineda said Martinez passed the medical examination given to him this week, but said his status is still day-to-day. He did not train Thursday.
Need to clarify of correct an earlier tweet: I asked Pineda if Martinez had an MRI. He shook his head yes to my question but in his answer he only referred to tests. So, not clear if Martinez underwent an MRI. #ATLUTD— Doug Roberson (@DougRobersonAJC) September 23, 2021
Given his obvious importance to the team and the Five Stripes’ championship aspirations, it’d be surprising at this point to see him play Saturday on the road against the Philadelphia union. In fact, I’d be shocked if he even boards the team plane, given that a flight would keep the knee mostly immobilized in a stressful position and could contribute to inflammation.
The good news is that Pineda is already familiar with how to set the team up tactically without Martinez. Previously he’s used Luiz Araujo and Ezequiel Barco as a pseudo-partnership up top with the mobile Marcelino Moreno playing underneath.