CARSON, Calif. — David Beckham returned to the training field on Wednesday, just shy of five months after tearing his Achilles tendon. While the rehabilitation process still has a ways to go, his presence alone could give the Los Angeles Galaxy a jolt.
“Seeing him out here and seeing him moving the way he is, kicking the ball around, running, being around the guys is great for him,” Galaxy midfielder Chris Klein said. “More importantly it’s very, very good for the Galaxy knowing that there’s a possibility we’ll get a healthy David Beckham back before the end of the season.”
WATCH: Beckham returns to training
The earliest Beckham would be eligible to play is September 4, when the Galaxy play in Chicago, but Beckham said doctors told him October 1 is the target. However, Beckham said he is targeting a comeback before October. With the fight and determination he’s shown during his rehabilitation process, Galaxy teammates are not going to begin doubting Beckham’s ability to bounce back.
“I’ve said all along that you never want to count David out,” Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant said. “Anytime anyone has done that in his career, he’s proven them wrong.”
With a grueling injury such as a torn Achilles tendon, the odds seemed stacked against a speedy recovery. Teammates weren’t preparing for an entire season without him, but the team didn’t want to wait around to see if Beckham would recover in time to play some meaningful minutes with the club either.
“We didn’t count him out. We didn’t know. We want didn’t rely on it, we didn’t want to expect it, but at the same time, you can’t be too surprised when he comes back early like this,” Dunivant said. “That’s the kind of guy he is—the kind of competitor.”
After his injury, which came in the dying moments of an AC Milan match on March 14, the World Cup was out of the question. During his rehabilitation, Beckham spent time in Southern California, South Africa and England. Still, time spent across the world wasn’t exactly time spent relaxing.
“I know he's worked very, very hard. I know he hasn't been sitting at home or hanging out at the beach,” Klein said. “He's been in the gym and trying to recover and really trying to do the right things for his body.”
During training, Beckham ran some with his teammates, but when the rest of the squad went through an 11-on-11 scrimmage, he moved to the sideline for some drills with strength and conditioning coach Ben Yauss and head athletic trainer Armando Rivas.
Beckham’s recovery has come a long way and it will take more time in order for the Galaxy to fully welcome back their star midfielder, but knowing what Galaxy players know about him, they intend him to return.
“I’ve had a lot of people ask me, 'Is he going to be done for good now?' and I couldn’t believe that that was even a question,” Dunivant said. “If they knew this guy at all, they’d know that that wasn’t even a possibility.”