SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Thierry Henry may not make his return from the injury list in time for New York’s return leg against San Jose on Thursday, according to head coach Hans Backe.
The French superstar has missed three straight games for the Red Bulls while recovering from a nagging right knee strain. Best-case scenario, Backe said, is that Henry could be available off the bench at Red Bull Arena on Thursday. But that’s no certainty either.
“[The medical staff] will try to test him on Monday with a normal football session,” Backe said after Saturday night’s 1-0 victory. “But I don’t think he will be ready.”
It’s better news for the rest of the Red Bulls triage unit, as Backe expects to have rookie midfielder Tony Tchani and forward Salou Ibrahim back in training this week. Both missed the trip to the West Coast with tight hamstrings, but should figure back into the picture.
The absence of both Henry and understudy striker Ibrahim in San Jose allowed Backe to partner 17-year-old academy product Juan Agudelo with Juan Pablo Angel up top against the Earthquakes. Backe was pleased enough with Agudelo’s performance that he indicated he’d consider giving the teenager another start for the second leg.
New York’s hero on Saturday night, goal-scorer Joel Lindpere, will almost certainly be ready to go this week as well. The Estonian has been suffering from a groin issue all season long, and was subbed out in extra time against San Jose after complaining of pain.
“Estonian guys, they are a little bit complaining too much,” joked Backe. “He will be ready for Thursday.”