Sandy • Warming up inside University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., Nick Rimando came down awkwardly on a cross and could tell something didn’t feel quite right with his left knee. The Real Salt Lake goalkeeper, anticipating a start between the posts for the U.S. men’s national team’s friendly against Mexico on April 2, said he ran through scenarios in his mind.
He told himself if he could get through warm-ups, he could get through the game.
Rimando did. However, after the game, he felt discomfort in the knee and more the next morning when he woke up.
"That’s when I knew something was up," he said Thursday at America First Field in Sandy.
Rimando phoned the RSL trainers soon after and he underwent an MRI on his left knee — the same knee which suffered a torn ACL in Sept. 2003 — to reveal he had a strained MCL upon his return to Utah. The RSL goalkeeper returned to training fully Thursday after going through various rehabilitation drills and workouts with the training staff and head coach Jeff Cassar earlier this week.
It was a huge sigh of relief for the 34-year-old, who is a essential lock for the U.S. World Cup roster for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
"Scared, for sure," Rimando said of those hours after the U.S.-Mexico tilt. "That day was kind of a weird day, because you don’t know how long you’re going to be out. I’m a good healer, but at the same time, you want to do everything right."
He consulted with the RSL coaching staff, training staff, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and said he’s been in touch with a specialist in Germany as well as two doctors in the Los Angeles area.
"We got to where all of them got on the same page and as you can see, it feels good in Week 2," Rimando said.
Having missed back-to-back road matches at Sporting Kansas City and Philadelphia, Rimando said he’s day-to-day in terms of him getting back on the field on a match day. Rimando said he and Cassar — a former MLS goalkeeper himself — came to training early each day this week to work on movements and slowly progressed enough to where he could train fully Thursday.
"I think mentally more so it’s just about feeling good out there and not being soft on it and thinking about your knee when you should be making a save," Rimando said. "It’s just about being in the moment and getting the injury out of your head."
Rimando’s check-up with the doctors Wednesday was positive he said as they explained his left knee looked stable and the progression is where it needs to be to feel comfortable enough to continue training. The big test for how the knee progresses is how Rimando feels each morning when he wakes up.
"It’s felt great and I pushed it again today," he said. "We’ll see how I wake up tomorrow."
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