UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – After an Achilles injury forced him to sit out training on Monday and Tuesday, New York Red Bulls star forward Thierry Henry was back at practice with his club on Thursday.
The Frenchman participated in team drills and an 11-v-11 session at the club’s training facility at Montclair State University and his outing left a positive impression on the manager.
“He looked sharp today – lively, explosive,” head coach Hans Backe said. “Took his runs in behind, which is his game.”
Henry partnered with Luke Rodgers up top in training, assisting on a Rodgers goal with a feed from the wing.
The former French international downplayed his Achilles ailment, pointing out that the injury dates back to 2004 when he was still playing for Arsenal. He called it a “chronic” condition that he’s managed over the last seven years.
“Basically, sometimes at Arsenal, I wasn’t training,” Henry said on Thursday. “I did suffer with it at Arsenal, I did suffer with it at Barcelona and I suffer with it here.”
Surgery is not necessary for the injury and the only thing that can help Henry is rest when the pain flares up. He’s played through the pain before and knows how to handle it.
“I played the final of the Champions League like that," he said. "I played the final of the World Cup like that."
Backe indicated he will manage Henry’s minutes when the injury flares up. But he seemed to regret playing his Designated Player in last weekend’s 1-0 loss at Philadelphia, a match in which the forward looked lethargic despite “flying” through training in the week leading up to the showdown against the Union.
“Probably too much pain [against Philadelphia] because when I see him in training today, he’s sharp, explosive,” Backe said.
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer