During the session, Pineda gave an update on Atlanta United Designated Player and star winger Luiz Araujo. The Brazilian pulled his hamstring just 20 minutes into the season as he scored the opener in a 3-1 win over Sporting Kansas City. Pineda said Araujo is steadily progressing, but cautioned that the club will be very patient to bring him back into the fold.
“He’s progressing well. He’s training on the side before our training sessions. He’s progressing very well,” said Pineda. “Sometimes these types of injuries take longer. We always say 4-6 weeks but we don’t know the [exact] timeline, especially for a very explosive player. WIth muscular injuries, it’s pivotal that we don’t rush the decision to go to the next phase when we don’t feel comfortable with his progression. It’s taking a little bit longer than we expected at the beginning, but it’s the best for Luiz Araujo in the long term. We want him to be back in a good shape rather than come back soon. We’re just trying to make sure that his recovery is good. So we’re happy he’s progressing well in the last few weeks.”
It seems likely that Araujo will miss at least one more match after this weekend, which is another one on the road against Charlotte FC. That means the earliest he’d likely return to the matchday squad might be the team’s only home match of the month against Cincinnati on April 16. But given Pineda’s comments, it could take even longer. It’s a shame, but no one will argue with Pineda’s reasoning — there’s no need to rush anything at this stage.