LEHI — There's a positive energy about Javier Morales that's contagious on the field.
Apparently it's contagious off the field as well.
Just a few days removed from seeing Morales go down with a gruesome broken ankle, his Real Salt Lake teammates are say they are happy and anxious to face Houston this weekend.
"It seems like Javy's in really good spirits, so that helps me out and I'm sure that helps the rest of the guys too," said RSL captain Kyle Beckerman.
Morales is expected to be out at least four months after having surgery on Monday, but RSL coach Jason Kreis said he and Morales swapped texts earlier this week about trying to get back sooner.
"Javier is a real positive guy, he's got a real positive outlook on everything he does and he attacks things with a good vigor, so I think he's going to handle this rehab situation the exact same way," said Kreis, who said he visited Morales in the hospital after the match last Saturday.
Despite Morales' upbeat attitude, it was still an emotional weekend for his teammates — so much so that the players were given an extra day off this week to refocus after a couple of tough weeks.
"I think we were all emotional. On this team we're all family, and when one of our guys goes down like that with a potential career-ending injury, your heart goes out to him and he's going to be on your mind and you think about him and his family," said defender Nat Borchers.
Nick Rimando said the family aspect of the injury was very emotional.
Rimando's wife was sitting behind Morales' wife at Rio Tinto Stadium when the injury occurred, and Rimando recounted how Morales' wife just broke down in tears, while his 4-year-old boy was obviously scared.
"On the family side of that, it's terrible when you see somebody's wife cry or kid cry; that's the last thing you want to see," said Rimando.
Only a handful of RSL players have seen Morales since the injury, but they're hoping to get a visit from their injured teammate perhaps as soon as Friday if not later this week.
It could be a depressing visit with the reality of the situation sinking in, but odds are good the upbeat Morales won't let that happen. Rimando fully expects that when Morales addresses the team, he'll tell the guys to go out and get a result against Houston.
Real Salt Lake is 11-8-8 in all competitions over the past four years without Morales, but it was much better in 2010, finishing with a 6-2-3 record.
"Obviously what happened to him was terrible and our hearts are with him, but at the same time we still have our jobs to do, and if it was up to Javy he'd want us out here playing hard and training and doing everything we can to get a result on Saturday," said Rimando.