After more than two months sidelined with a thigh injury, USMNT and Dortmund attacker Gio Reyna is nearing a return to action according to recent comments by his father.
The 19 year-old attacking midfielder reportedly tore a muscle in his thigh during the September international window, and has been stuck in injury limbo ever since, with what was originally expected to be a couple weeks out now extending into two and a half months.
According to recent buzz, Dortmund was expecting him to miss the rest of 2021 after he reportedly took a step back and was suffering the effects of nerve related damage stemming from the injury and recovery.
However, in recent comments to media outlet The Athletic, Reyna’s father, former USA captain and current Austin FC sporting director Claudio Reyna, confirmed that the current timetable could see him squeeze in some playing time before for Dortmund before the team goes on winter break in mid-December.
The elder Reyna confirmed that the younger had been released by Dortmund to recover in Austin with his family, and even take in a few games along the say.
“With a little bit of a longer recovery, clubs let players also get a mental break and continue their rehab somewhere else,” Reyna told The Athletic. “So it was great to have him here. He came out to a couple of our games. It was great just for the family to spend time with him since, as you know, we’re away quite a bit.”
Regarding the injury, the former USA captain confirmed that the recovery is going well, and even ventured to suggest a timeline for his eventual return.
“He’s progressing well,” Reyna stated. “He’s back there now, but he’s a couple of weeks away [from playing].”
“It’s been longer than first expected, so he’s being as patient as he can.”
While the two-week estimate can’t be taken verbatim, the general timeframe could put Reyna on-target for suiting up again when Dortmund host league leaders FC Bayern on December 4. Including that game, they have five matches in Bundesliga and Champions League play over a 14-day span, before heading into the winter break following the December 18 visit to Hertha Berlin.
The question is whether Dortmund head coach Marco Rose will push to have Reyna back on the field as soon as he’s cleared, or target a return in early-January when Bundesliga play resumes after Christmas and the New Year.
Rose’s squad is currently in second place behind Bayern, leading the de facto chase for the “best of the rest” title amongst the 17 teams outside of the perennial winners from Munich. While Reyna’s presence could be a useful boost to the team, they have performed well without him, so Rose will have the luxury of choosing whether to get the young star back onto the field as quickly as possible, or take the careful approach and re-integrate him slowly in a lower-risk manner.
This news will also be welcome for US fans, who have seen the national team have to contend with seven of their eight qualifiers without the young superstar. While the team is in a good position just past the halfway mark of qualification for Qatar, trailing group leaders Canada by a single point, the toughest contests – away games at Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica – are still ahead, so every boost the team can get is necessary.