David Ferreira cleared but remains question mark

Heading into preseason, the biggest question surrounding FC Dallas was who would start at right midfield after last year’s starter Marvin Chavez was traded during the offseason. Add to that the fact that heir apparent Jackson will be spending this year in his native Brazil. It was almost as if everyone assumed that 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira would be completely recovered from a broken ankle suffered late last April and cost him all but six games of last season.

As preseason has worn on, FCD fans and those who cover the team know that’s not exactly the case with Ferreira. The second procedure “El Torito” had to undergo last fall has definitely set him back, but Dallas got good news on Wednesday after Ferreira went to see one of the team doctors and was cleared to return to full contact for the first time in nearly a year.

“He went to one of our doctors today and was assured that everything’s fine with his ankle, that there’s going to be some pain and what he has to do is really understand that there’s going to be some pain but it may never get back to the way it was and he may just have to understand that the pain’s going to be there," FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman said after a 4-0 exhibition win over SMU. "And the more he plays, the less he’s going to feel the pain. So I think it was very reassuring for him and his comment was, 'Hey, I want to play tonight.' ”

So now the question becomes: can we expect to see the same Ferreira that invigorated the FCD attack in 2010? That appears doubtful as it looks like everyone’s worst fears with his injury and long recovery might be close to being realized, that fear that Ferreira might never be the same again.

However, that is far from the end of the world. Ferreira was an amazing player when healthy. His toughness, vision on the pitch, offensive creativity and strong all-around game was a big reason why FCD played in MLS Cup in 2010 and even if he’s still merely a shell of his MVP self, that’s still pretty good.

Dallas struggled mightily in the attacking third in 2011 and a lot of those scoring woes can be directly traced to the absence of No. 10. Now that he’s been cleared to return to full contact, the real work begins in terms of him having around three weeks to be ready for FCD’s 2012 opener against the Red Bulls on March 11. Whether he’ll be ready or not remains up for debate, but one thing’s for sure, he has plenty to work through between now and then, according to his head coach.

“Yeah, I think it's not so much the acceleration, the sprinting, it's when he has to slow down it just doesn't feel right. What they did was they put a wire in there to keep things together and then the bone grew into the wire and I think at some point in time they may have to go in there and take the wire out so the bone will be there by itself,” Hyndman said. “Maybe that gives him better reflective movement. We probably won’t see him Saturday. I think we want to build him into training sessions where he's going full go and teammates still know that he's injured rather than put him out there tonight where people don't know he's had surgery.”