Real Salt Lake defender Chris Wingert knew it was broken right away.
RSL's veteran left back was training during the offseason with the St. John's University soccer team, where he played collegiately, when he kicked the bottom of another's player foot and broke the second metatarsal bone in his right foot.
When the bone did not heal as doctors thought it would, Wingert underwent surgery that has kept him off the field so far this season, bringing frustration to the veteran.
"You just feel helpless," Wingert said. "You wish that you could help the guys. I mean, the guys have been doing great, but at the same time you want to be with them and you want to be on the field. And you don't feel like a part of the team as much just because you're at home and your not involved with everything."
Slowly, however, that frustration is melting away.
"Fortunately, now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel," he said.
Wingert was with the team Tuesday and Wednesday, running and, for the first time this year, doing ball work. He has a plate and five screws in his foot, but he has been managing the pain and said he hoped to see time during a reserve match against Colorado next month.
"We'll see how it recovers this next week and how I'm feeling once I'm fully into practice, but I think there's definitely a chance of that," he said. "Obviously, I'd like to play as soon as possible. But at the same time, we've got to be smart and just make sure we're not overdoing it."
"It's pretty exciting for me," he added. "I feel like a little kid again."
Consistency can wait
With five starters away with their national teams and six more players unavailable because of injury last weekend, Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis used his third different lineup in the season's first four games.
But even without a whopping 11 missing players, there's no guarantees Kreis would have stuck with the same squad for a second week in a row.
"Even if all our players were healthy and fit, I'm not so sure we would be playing the same lineup," Kreis said Wednesday. "At this time of the season, I don't think you really should be. I think you need to be giving different players opportunities and chances, and looking at how different mixtures look together so you can get to the middle or second half of the season and then try to maintain that consistency."
With the Seattle Sounders still alive in CONCACAF Champions League play, a reserve game scheduled for this weekend has been canceled. And in its stead, RSL will take on a team a little closer to home.
An RSL roster likely featuring reserve regulars and a number of players rehabbing from injury will take on the Brigham Young University men's soccer team Monday at Rio Tinto Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
RSL vs. Seattle
P Saturday, 7 p.m.
TV • CW30