Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
On May 7, Real Salt Lake star midfielder snapped his left ankle on a reckless challenge from Chivas forward Marcos Mondaini. Most feared his season was lost when team Dr. Andrew Cooper said the injury would likely keep him out for five months. This week past, however, and just over four months removed from the injury, Morales returned to the training field. There's talk that he could even make his official return on Sept. 28 in a home match against Chicago. Morales caught up with Deseret News RSL beat writer James Edward to talk about his recovery.
Q: You've been back training with the team for a few weeks now. RSL fans want to know When will you be back on the field?
A: I don't know yet. (Tuesday) was my first day training not as a neutral. My ankle is pain-free, that's the most important. But I have to work more on my fitness and my soccer.
Q: Going back to the days and weeks after the injury, we heard you talk about wanting to get back on the field this season and not have it be a season-ending injury, did you really believe that was possible at the time?
A: I had to think like that. Dr. Cooper, when I had my injury, he told me five months until full training, and now I'm four months and one week and I'm full training, I'm happy for that, I just need to keep working hard. Maybe I can play a couple games this year.
Q: Has it been tough to see RSL go through several ups and downs this summer knowing if you had been out there you could've probably helped?
A: It's hard to watch the games. I know we have a good team, but it's hard to be outside watching the game, or on TV. I'm part of this team, and I would've liked to help in every game, but I'm not available. That's been the hardest part.
Q: A month or so ago Real Salt Lake allowed you take a vacation to your home country of Argentina. How important was that vacation to refocus you for the final steps in your recovery?
A: When (the injury) happened that was really hard for my mind. I have the support of the club, the fans, everyone, but in this case I think you need your family. My brothers, my mom, my dad, my whole family to be with me and try to support me, to give me confidence. That was good. I spent 20 days there with them. It was recovery for my mind. When I came back, I was ready to work harder than before.
Q: You've been working very hard for well over a month now to strengthen your leg, and now you're on the verge of making your long-awaited return. Has the recovery process been tougher than you thought it would be?
A: Yeah. It was harder than preseason because I was working almost every day and really hard, but that's normal. I was two months on the couch, one month on crutches and nothing with my body. Now I have to spend a lot of time working hard to come back with my best performance.
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