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Injured Colorado Rapids wingback Marlon Hairston still weeks away from return

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Sidelined with a knee injury, Marlon Hairston is itching to get back on the field. But thought he’s made strides in his recovery, it will be a few more weeks before Colorado Rapids fans get to see the converted wingback’s return.

Rapids head coach Anthony Hudson wouldn’t provide a hard timeline on the 24-year-old’s return, but Hairston provided additional insight when speaking with Pro Soccer USA this week – nearly three weeks after he underwent surgery to repair the joint surface cartilage on his right knee after going down in Colorado’s 3-0 win over Philadelphia.

“Before I had the surgery, I talked to the national team doctor to figure out what type of injury I had,” said Hairston. “They told me between three to five weeks. I think right now I’m going in the right direction at two weeks and five days. Maybe another week or two I’d say. I haven’t really started running yet or doing anything with the ball so I don’t really know.”

For the time being, Hairston continues to rebuild strength in his right leg with the hope of returning as the dynamic player he was before the injury.

“This one was tough for me because I’ve never had any knee injuries before,” Hairston explained. “I’ve just got to try to get my confidence back and not be afraid to do the things I could do before the injury.”

The injury has been an early blow to the Rapids, who’ve struggled to fill the role at right wingback in recent weeks, with Hudson opting for Kip Colvey, Dillon Serna and Bismarck “Nana”  Adjei-Boateng in relief. The results have been mixed – with Colorado earning three points from the last two matches, including last week’s 3-0 loss to Real Salt Lake.

“We’re still building an identity as a team and every weekend we’re getting stronger,” Hairston said of the Rapids’ recent performances. “Even this past weekend, we were the better team. Situations like that with the red card, it changes the game and even 80 minutes in we were still trying to leave there with a result. Things happen, but we stuck together and that’s a performance that can build unity.”

Despite his positive demeanor, the injury has been an early blow to Hairston, who ended the 2018 preseason at peak fitness with a goal to play in front of family at this year’s MLS All Star Game in Atlanta.

“That was definitely one of the things on my bucket list; to try and give myself the best opportunity to be a part of that, but injuries you can’t control,” Hairston said. “If it happens, that would be great. Now, I’m just focused on getting back on the field with the team.”

For the time being, he’ll remain a spectator as Colorado preps to host Orlando City SC this Sunday (4 p.m. ET on ESPN).

Said Hairston, “I think this weekend we could definitely use a positive result here at home. Our schedule doesn’t get any easier after this so we could definitely use a win.”

Colorado Rapids Injury Notes:

  • Forward Joe Mason (leg) has been practicing and is expected to be available for selection.
  • Defender Danny Wilson (ankle) featured in the 18 for Colorado last week and could be in the mix to start Sunday.
  • Midfielder Dillon Serna (minor undisclosed injury) has been practicing and is expected to be available for selection.
  • Defender Kortne Ford (MCL sprain) has participated in individual sprint work and could return to team training soon.
  • Defender Eric Miller (calf) returned to full practices this week. 
  • Midfielder Stefan Aigner was a healthy scratch last weekend. “Now it’s down to performance and him having to make the 18. It’s as simple as that. The detail of that is between me and him,” Rapids head coach Anthony Hudson told reporters this week.

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