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August 13, 2012
Meara: hip feels 'great' in 1st practice in nearly a month

Ryan Meara is still two weeks away from playing, according to Red Bulls coach Hans Backe.
Ryan Meara is still two weeks away from playing, according to Red Bulls coach Hans Backe.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
By Kristian R. Dyer Contributing Editor

UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – With the recently acquired Luis Robles standing on the sidelines in street clothes on Monday morning watching his new Red Bull teammates practice, goalkeeper Ryan Meara put in a full training session in goal for the first time in nearly a month.

Meara, a rookie who has been nothing short of a revelation for the Red Bulls this year, has played since a July 8 loss at New England with a hip injury. Originally, it was thought that the injury would keep Meara out for just a game or two but it has turned into something worse than that.

But Monday was his return to the field at Montclair State University and he was ready to go, saying his hip “responded well.”

“It felt great. I think it was the first time in a couple weeks where I was all in, didn’t hold back at all,” Meara said.

Before the injury, Meara was considered a veritable lock for Major League Soccer rookie of the year honors as he played with a veteran’s poise. But with the Red Bulls recently trading for Bill Gaudette and then acquiring Robles (not to mention Jeremy Vuolo on the roster as well), coach Hans Backe doesn’t see any reason to rush Meara back into the Starting XI.

“Let’s get in today and just keep going now, every session and see how it works,” Backe said. “Probably should know in two weeks if it works or not.”

The plan for Meara on Tuesday will include light weight training to strengthen his hip and the muscles around that area. He also said that there will be lots of stretching as well moving forward. Meara said the injury happened as part of the “wear and tear” of the season and the fact that his rookie body isn’t used to this type of grind.

He had returned to the field in mid-July, shortly after the injury flared up following the loss to the Revolution. Given the Red Bulls' recent form, sitting just a point outside of first place, he isn’t expecting an automatic return to the Starting XI when he gets fit.

“It’s hard to switch anything up right now when it’s going great,” Meara said.

“Obviously I want to be the starter again but I understand if ‘It is not broken then don’t fix it’.”
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