With Atlanta United sustaining injuries at a rate unseen even by its head coach Gonzalo Pineda who spent his lifetime in the game, let’s run through all the players and discuss where they are in their recoveries or general health status.
Josef Martinez - Why not start with the big one — the player who has been on the minds of the entirety of the Atlanta United fan base since he was shut down several weeks ago. Josef was back on the training pitch during Friday’s session, though he was working individually with a trainer. He jogged, stretched, and did some finishing drills for about an hour.
Pineda later revealed that Josef had a double session planned for the day with another to take place in the afternoon, and added that it’s not the first time he’s had such a training session. Having said that, there’s no firm timetable on when he will return to the team. The staff is still taking it day-by-day with him, assessing his performance in sessions and recovery thereafter. The end of May fits the long end of the initial timetable the team publicized upon news of his arthroscopic knee surgery. My opinion is that the end of the month may be a decent timeframe for his return to team training, but it still might be a while before we see him appear in games, and even longer before he’s fit to start. I think we may not see Josef back starting games until July, especially if the team continues to create chances with Ronaldo Cisneros leading the line.
Andrew Gutman - As you’ve likely heard by now, Andrew Gutman’s injury suffered against Nashville SC in the U.S. Open Cup was not the worst-case scenario (a collarbone fracture) and is instead just a shoulder sprain/separated shoulder. The bad news is that a shoulder sprain can still be a pretty serious and painful injury that — despite it being in the upper body of what is largely a lower body sport — is still very much needed to be fully healed before he can perform at an optimal level. The good news about an upper body injury is that it will allow Gutman to retain his fitness level better during rehab as he can still bike and jog, so his return to action after recovery will be more predictable than, say, Luiz Araujo who was dealing with a hamstring pull.
George Campbell - Campbell appeared as a sub in Wednesday’s game, marking his first minutes since sustaining an abductor injury (hip) against Inter Miami on April 24. Starting Sunday might be a stretch, and perhaps an unneeded risk if Alex De John is healthy. I’m not going to list De John specifically in this post, but he did look a little gimpy late in Wednesday’s match. However, he’s not listed on Atlanta United’s latest injury report.
Caleb Wiley - Wiley suffered a low-grade ankle sprain against the Chicago Fire. He’s listed as questionable, but in my opinion he is unlikely to play this week as he was not in training on Friday despite also missing the midweek match. I’d guess that he’s actually questionable to make Atlanta’s following game against Nashville on May 21.
Emerson Hyndman - Don’t worry! Hyndman is not injured, but Pineda told media Friday that the team is being very patient with his return after such a long layoff. At this point in time, Hyndman is not in consideration to start matches, Pineda surely wishes he was an option from the start, but he said they need to be more convinced he can maintain performance levels for a longer period of time before that happens. I’d guess he remains purely as a sub option for the next month, unless another injury crisis forces the team’s hand.
Brad Guzan (Achilles tendon)
Miles Robinson (Achilles tendon)
Dylan Castanheira (Achilles tendon)
Ozzie Alonzo (ACL)