FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas coach Shellas Hyndman said Wednesday that he’s treading lightly with injured center back George John, and that the club’s imposing defender may not play against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium.
John was forced out of FCD’s 1-0 win over Toronto FC last Saturday with a hamstring issue, but he said this week the injury was different from the ones that plagued him during his rookie season.
“The hamstring this time around, I don’t think it should be a big deal,” John said. “I gave it some rest and it’s been improving tremendously every day since the game.”
Still, Hyndman is being cautious with John, who saw much of his rookie season last year hampered by injuries.
[inline_node:306932]“He’s probable, but we’ll try to keep him out,” Hyndman said Wednesday. “I think he missed 17 games [last year] because of the hamstring. It’s not one of those things that he’s not tough enough to go play on it; it’s that he’s unable to play the way he needs to play on it. We’re monitoring that quite closely.”
John said he’s optimistic about his chances to start on Saturday night against the Earthquakes with FCD's 13-game unbeaten streak on the line.
“We’ll see how it goes,” John said. “I did some stuff on the side [Wednesday] and it felt good. Hopefully I’ll be playing soon.”
Should John not be able to answer the bell, Hyndman has three options for a replacement. One is captain Daniel Hernandez, who normally plays defensive midfield but has played center back during his time in Mexico and also played there earlier in his MLS career.
Versatile Brazilian newcomer Jackson Gonçalves could also get a start. He started Saturday’s game against TFC at defensive midfielder, but dropped back to fill in for John after he left the game.
A third option is second-year defender Kyle Davies. He started the season opener on March 27 against Houston and played well, but suffered a broken arm in the second half, cutting his 2010 debut short. Davies hasn’t played with the first team since.