The New York Red Bulls are making a habit of late-breaking roster news on game day. Last week, the RBNY starting lineup for the game against Seattle was preceded by the news Kemar Lawrence wasn't available. This week, the Red Bulls dropped the news Mike Grella is out of action for several weeks in advance of revealing the team to face Real Salt Lake.
In the original announcement, it was suggested Grella will be sidelined for "four to five weeks". After the RSL game, Jesse Marsch fielded a question about his injured attacker, and the RBNY head coach offered a slightly more optimistic assessment:
Yeah, it's the same issue with Mike. He's going to have three to four weeks off because we're going to try some treatments with it and hope that we can -- it's his knee. It's like his knee/quad muscle. So we're trying to try some treatments there to see if we can solve some of the pain issues he's having. And we're hopeful that it means there will be nothing more that needs to happen, so it's probably going to take three to four weeks.
Important note: Marsch is not a doctor and the difference between "three to four weeks" and "four to five weeks" is negligible in the context of guessing at how long a player needs to get back on their feet. Estimates of recovery time are always simply estimates - a week or so is not a significant difference.
What both Marsch and the official announcement agree on is Grella will be out for several weeks. Factor in the time he'll need to get his fitness back up, and an optimistic forecast might suggest the player could be ready to return to the field around the end of April - pencil in the April 29 home game against Chicago and hope for the best.
Until the RSL game, Grella had appeared in all of RBNY's competitive games to date this season - but all five appearances were from the bench
. While it had started to seem clear he was no longer considered a starter (at least while Daniel Royer is fit), it would appear that the team was also gently easing Grella back into regular minutes to see if his discomfort would gradually dissipate over time. Clearly, the pain did not dissipate and more aggressive therapy is required. However, Marsch confirmed that Grella has not undergone another surgery.
limped out of the second leg of RBNY's CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Vancouver Whitecaps
on March 2
, and hasn't played since. If he is fit for the team's next game on April 1, it will have been a month since he sustained an injury for which a recovery timetable was never really communicated - which is to say, keep an eye out for reports on Grella's progress, but he's out until he's next included in a match-day squad, regardless of what the club might say over the course of the next few weeks.