It has now been four-and-a-half weeks since Red Bulls’ midfielder Carl Robinson had surgery on his knee to take care of severe swelling that surfaced in late March, a week before the 2010 MLS season started.
The former Welsh international suffered the injury when he took a knock to the knee during the friendly against Brazilian club Santos that inaugurated Red Bull Arena. Robinson limped off the field and continued to play in severe pain until his last match in mid-May against Seattle, when he finally decided that he needed surgery.
The midfielder said that the knee surgery was "undoubtedly a success." Within days, he was walking laps around the field and keeping a high and steady heart rate, which was being monitored by the club’s training staff. Over the past few weeks, he has taken to running and, this week, Robinson did some light training with the team, including drills and small-sided games.
Robinson said that the injury caused his knee to buckle -- bone grinding against bone. As a result, there was severe swelling to the back of his knee. He had the knee drained four times in the month leading up to the surgery and got cortisone shots so that he could play through the pain. But pain is nothing new for Robinson.
"I don't remember a time since I was young that I didn’t have knee pain," Robinson told MLSsoccer.com. "I've never played without pain."
He said that oftentimes, after a weekend match, he would be able to practice on Monday, but couldn't walk on Tuesday and Wednesday. That meant missing practice, and he's "the kind of player who needs to practice, who wants to practice."
Now, as he begins to sprint towards a return to the field -- last week he had hoped to be available for the Colorado game on Sunday -- he said that there are some aches still swirling around in the knee. But, the 33-year-old says, it is an aching pain and significantly different than what he experienced before the surgery.
"I now actually have a full range of motion," Robinson said. "I look forward to getting back out there. I'm recovered from the meniscus tear and feeling as good as I've ever felt.
"It's frustrating to watch the lads out there and not be a part of it, but I’m ahead of schedule and can't wait to play again."
Kristian Dyer is a reporter for MLSSoccer.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.