Shortly before the MLS Cup final, David Beckham announced that the championship game would be his last with the LA Galaxy. There was some question as to whether team captain Landon Donovan, perhaps burned out from a heavy workload from the Galaxy and U.S. national team, would also leave the team.
But Galaxy coach Bruce Arena put those fears to rest on Monday as the Galaxy had their first practice of the 2013 season. Even though Donovan was not there, Arena said he was returning for 2013.
"We’ve given him a little more time off,” Arena told LAGalaxy.com on Monday. “He’s definitely playing this year, but we’re just working out a return date that makes sense for all of us…we’re working that out soon.”
Arena said there was not timetable for Donovan's return. He said he met with Donovan over the weekend and that Donovan is feeling well, but just needs a little more time off. Arena said he never doubted that Donovan would return.
“No, I thought he was going to come back. I think he just needs a little bit more of an extended leave of absence. He’s got a couple of years that have taken its toll and he needs a little bit more time.”
The Galaxy open their regular season at home on March 3 against the Chicago Fire, and Arena said he hopes Donovan returns to action soon so he can be in top physical condition for the game.
“He like any player needs the right time. The longer that he takes off, it’ll take him longer to be ready to play,” Arena told LAGalaxy.com. “Generally, we’d like to see some players get three or four weeks to bring their fitness along.”