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Rapinoe still recovering, not rushing back from injury

Megan Rapinoe has been out over a month with a left foot injury. (Photo Copyright Meg Linehan for The Equalizer)

Seattle Reign FC is off to a perfect 7-0-0 start and sit atop the table, and they’ve done so largely without the services of midfielder Megan Rapinoe.

The U.S. international played in one match — scoring in a 3-0 season-opening win over the Boston Breakers on April 13th — before it was revealed that she had a left foot contusion. Seattle thought it would take a week to heal. A month later, Rapinoe is still just trying to get back to training. She is now walking pain-free and is off crutches.

“It’s coming along good,” Rapinoe said in a team interview. “It’s just kind of slow — a lot slower than I and everyone else thought. I thought I would be back a lot sooner, but it turned into more of a stress kind of thing, so really I just had to wait and be patient.”

The words “stress” and “slower than thought” sound eerily similar to the situation of Portland Thorns FC forward and U.S. teammate Alex Morgan, who is due back by June 7 — maybe sooner — after seven months out with a left ankle sprain that turned into a stress reaction.

Seattle coach Laura Harvey told The Equalizer on Monday that Rapinoe’s left foot contusion evolved into a stress reaction, causing the delay. The Reign are being “very, very cautious,” Harvey said, and there’s no set timetable on a return for Rapinoe, since a stress reaction being more of a ‘feel’ kind of injury than it is a set recovery time. Rapinoe is, however, in the fourth week of what was initially thought to be a process that would take 4-6 weeks.

“I think we’re close now,” Harvey said. “I think we’re close to getting her in a position where she can start to train again. Thankfully with our medical department and linking with the national team, I think we’ve got her in a good place to progress, but it’s just going to take time.”

Much like has been talked about with Morgan’s injury, World Cup qualifying and the tournament itself next summer are what are most important; Rapinoe is in no rush to push back too soon.

“There’s not a good time to be injured, but if ever there was, I don’t feel the pressure like I have to come back right away. I think everyone just wants me to be healthy,” Rapinoe said.

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