As blue-and-yellow mesh scrimmage jerseys dotted the middle of the Sporting Kansas City practice field Wednesday, striker Dom Dwyer completed his work inches from the corner sideline.
With instructions from fitness coach Mateus Manoel, Dwyer cycled through a series of tasks to test his left knee, planting off the leg before contorting his body in a range of motions. The workout spanned half an hour before Dwyer jogged around the field’s perimeter a handful of times.
“That was interesting (and) surprising,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. “He was actually out here today, and I didn’t think he would be.”
A left knee injury that has penalized Dwyer two matches appears to be on the mend, if Wednesday’s side session is any indication. Vermes said his striker’s status for Saturday’s home match against Minnesota will be a “last-minute decision.”
Dwyer has experienced fluid buildup in his dominant left knee for three weeks. Tests revealed no structural damage, but Sporting KC does not want to put him into a match until the fluid subsides. He was unused in the club’s past two matches, both losses. Sporting KC was shutout each time without its top scoring threat.
Dwyer is one of three players trying to work his way back from an injury. Sporting KC defender Kevin Ellis is dealing with a quadriceps muscle strain suffered in the loss to Vancouver on May 20. He was unavailable last weekend and is questionable Saturday.
“That’s a tough one because we just don’t know how serious it is yet,” Vermes said. “We’ll probably know the next couple of days. But he’s improved immensely.”
On Wednesday, Sporting KC signed defender Amer Didic from its reserve team, the Swope Park Rangers, perhaps an indication that Ellis’ status is in serious doubt for Saturday. Didic, 22, played the full season for the Rangers last year and was a USL Defender of the Year finalist.
A bright spot: Forward Diego Rubio has returned to training on a limited basis. Rubio, who tore his ACL last October, is slightly ahead of schedule in his rehab.
“Next week, he will be (cleared) to take contact. He’s in contact drills now, but it’s a 1-on-1 basis. It’s controlled,” Vermes said. “He’ll start to get involved next week on a full-time basis.”
Vermes did not project a timetable for Rubio’s return to the field, but he could be available for selection in the next few weeks.