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Is Dwayne De Rosario getting back sooner than we expected?

Nov 3, 2012, 9:55 AM EDT

De Rosario 2

There are two ways to meet the latest Dwayne De Rosario news, that he has been upgraded to “questionable” for the series about to start and seems more and more likely to play some role in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

On the one hand, what a tremendous emotional lift it could provide D.C. United, a side that’s playing better than the New York Red Bulls, but one that is fighting with a shorter stick in terms of overall talent. That part, in fact, isn’t really close.

New York is bringing its “sports car” into RFK Stadium today; United is driving a practical hybrid.

So seeing De Rosario standing on the sideline, about to sub in, ready to make a grand re-entrance to his team, might really become some kind of X-factor shape-shifter in this series.

But if you spin this thing around, there is a way of looking at it that won’t sound so syrupy sweet to fans of the Black and Red:

Ben Olsen’s team has done wonderfully without De Rosario, 5-0-2 down the stretch without their top attacker. They’ve done it by tweaking the formation (adding a second defensive midfielder) and adjusting the overall approach, going slightly more defensive, rubbing a little more dirt into the entire effort and the dependably grinding out results.

There can be no question that De Rosario will be welcomed back into the team once he’s healthy, lively and fit.  The question becomes, then, about the best timing. Because deploying “De Ro” at less than full pedal-to-the-medal velocity does not seem to make that much sense.

Tonight’s match from RFK Stadium is 8 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

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