Landon Donovan, who skipped the Galaxy's three-games-in-eight-days trek to Washington, Toronto and Chicago with a knee injury, says he's feeling better, is "getting closer to 100 percent" and might be ready to go Saturday night when L.A. takes on the Portland Timbers at Home Depot Center.
"Fitness-wise, I'm a little ways away, having been out for more than two weeks, and just sharpness-wise, too," said Donovan, who returned to training this week. "This has been good to have a few days out here training, and then we'll have to see how tomorrow goes and make a determination for Saturday."
Said head coach Bruce Arena: "We expect him to play."
Donovan was hurt in a 1-0 victory April 2 over Philadelphia at HDC, but the Galaxy shielded the injury until just before the April 9 game at D.C. United, with Arena claiming that his captain was merely resting after playing two games for the U.S. national team and one for the Galaxy in an eight-day span.
"In the game against Philly, early in the game I shot a ball, and somebody put their leg in the way, and it kind of just hit [my right knee], and I ended up having some swelling and probably sprained it a little bit," Donovan said. "And it just wouldn't go away for that first week, so we made the decision to just stay home" the week leading to the trek and while the team was away.
The Galaxy went 1-0-2 without Donovan, getting draws at D.C. United and April 13 at Toronto FC -- games L.A. probably should have won -- then beating Chicago on Sunday with a makeshift lineup devised after starting central midfielders David Beckham and Juninho were suspended. Donovan, who hasn't dealt with major injuries in his career (and had never been sidelined with a knee injury), didn't enjoy watching the matches from home.
"It's frustrating when your team's playing and you can't be there," he said. "So it came at a bad time. If we would have played just two games [on the trip], it would have been a little easier, but playing three games in the week made it difficult. And not having had an injury, you don't know how to gauge it, you don't know where you're at. So it's kind of touch and go and make sure you're doing enough but you're not doing too much to reinjure it. I think we've done a good job of staying on top of it."
WORTH NOTING: League president Mark Abbott said at a meeting Thursday with Associated Press Sports Editors that Major League Soccer would base any decision to re-sign Beckham on what he offers on the field, not his celebrity. The Galaxy midfielder's five-year, $32.5 million contract expires at year's end, and he has said on several occasions that he would consider returning to L.A. next year but wouldn't make a decision on his future until the season concluded. ... A.J. DeLaGarza or Sean Franklin will step into a starting center-back role following Brazilian defender Leonardo's season-ending knee injury in the win at Chicago. Leonardo, who tore his anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his right knee, must undergo two surgeries to repair the damage, Arena said. The first is scheduled for early next week. ... Arena said Gregg Berhalter, whom Leonardo had replaced, isn't close to returning from a sprained left knee but was expected back "sometime in the next month." ... Forward Adam Cristman is eligible to be taken off the injured reserve list, and Arena said he would likely return to training next week.