Chris Duvall was out in front of the press during the New York Red Bulls' Tuesday training in advance of the team's Friday night match with Chicago Fire (at Red Bull Arena; September 11, 7:00 pm kick off). RBNY's erstwhile starting right back has been sidelined since his having his leg broken by the New York Cosmos on July 1. But he is on a rehabilitation schedule that hopes to have him ready to be considered for selection once again by the time the MLS playoffs roll around in late October (or early November).
Per a report from Big Apple Soccer, the soon-to-be-24-year-old (his birthday is September 10) is cautiously optimistic about his ongoing rehab:
Right now, we're right on track. Hopefully we can stick with that. The timetable is not set in stone but we're definitely shooting to be game-ready by the end of the season.
Empire of Soccer's report includes some words of thanks and praise for the support provided by RBNY head coach Jesse Marsch:
He checks up on me everyday and we have a very good relationship. Right now, it is about me getting my body back healthy and I know they are there to have my back.
The MLS roster freeze arrives on September 15, at which point teams will no longer be able to add to their squads until the season is over. The roster is reasonably well stocked with right back options: Connor Lade has provided a level of play that ought to make him a candidate for the starting position even when in competition with a fully-fit Duvall; rookie Shawn McLaws has been performing well for NYRB II (though occasionally filling in at center back); Karl Ouimette has played full back for Canada in recent outings, though Marsch appears to regard him as a central defender, first and foremost. Playing one of the specialist left backs or central defenders out of position would also be an option in a pinch.
The ambition to have Duvall back in time for the playoffs suggests RBNY is not contemplating reinforcements at right back for the regular season run-in (there will be eight games to play after the roster freeze) or the near-certainty of post-season soccer thereafter.
One aspect of preserving squad unity and cohesiveness is showing faith in your depth players when injuries provide opportunity, and ensuring those who are injured know they have not been abandoned by the team. RBNY appears to be doing a good job of balancing both those elements in the name of keeping everyone on the roster motivated to reach full fitness and top form for the season's finale.