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In the hours after Real Salt Lake returned the Rocky Mountain Cup to Rio Tinto Stadium, its best defender this season posted a photo on his Twitter account. A smiling Aaron Maund, flanked by his parents, held the Cup in his left hand. But the photo was not taken on the field, where in 2016, Maund's continued rise at center back has coincided with RSL's return to the playoff picture.

It was in the stands.

The 25-year-old defender once again was forced to look on as RSL topped rival Colorado 2-1 last Friday night in Sandy, and it's a view he may have to get used to for a while. Maund, who suffered a toe fracture in the days after RSL's 1-0 loss at Toronto on Aug. 3, has missed the last four matches due to the injury.

But the looming question remains: Will Maund be able to return to the field this season?

"That's still a little to be determined," RSL general manager Craig Waibel said.

Maund suffered a fractured sesamoid in his right foot, a small bone located on the underside of the foot. One of the recovery timelines RSL received, Waibel said, was possibly at the conclusion of the regular season, which ends Oct. 23 at Seattle.

"We've also been told that [the RSL medical staff] wants to reevaluate the injury," Waibel said. "They took a really good look at it and want to reevaluate it in about a week-and-a-half or two weeks and just see where the process is on the recovery."

Though not similar injuries, Waibel equated the potential timeline for Maund's recovery to that of L.A. Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes who will miss the rest of the regular season with a fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot suffered over the weekend.

Maund has been in a walking boot the last few weeks while he and the club decide on the next course of action. Last week, RSL coach Jeff Cassar told reporters that they still were weighing the option of whether or not to have the fracture surgically repaired.

"It's kind of a wait-and-see injury," Waibel said. "There's some that are like this."

Once buried on the RSL depth chart early in his career, Maund started a career-high 21 matches in 2015. The Notre Dame product kept his job through the offseason and into the CONCACAF Champions League round against Tigres UANL in February. Maund started 20 of RSL's first 23 league matches this season, not to mention four goal-line clearances in 2016.

Less than a week after Maund's injury, RSL re-signed Chris Schuler to the first team after Schuler overcame his latest bout with foot and knee surgeries from 2015. Veteran Jamison Olave since has replaced Maund in the RSL starting lineup alongside 19-year-old Justen Glad.

—Chris Kamrani

Twitter: @chriskamrani