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Landon Donovan is coming back – in late March

Feb 17, 2013, 6:27 PM EDT

Landon Donovan

Well, at least Landon Donovan isn’t retiring at 30.

The LA Galaxy issued a statement Sunday afternoon revealing that their Designated Player attacker (and all-time leading scorer) would return in the final week of March.

Assuming Donovan is not available for any games in March, he would miss at least six Galaxy matches on the schedule. That includes four league contests – the champs’ season begins March 3 at home against Chicago – and both matches in the CONCACAF Champions League home-and-away series against Costa Rica’s Herediano.

An early April return represents best-case scenario; A far more reasonable timetable for return would seem to be mid-April.

It does, at least allow the Galaxy to better plan its season and plot out player personnel strategies in regards to salary cap and DP slots.

What Galaxy manager Bruce Arena said in the statement:

After a series of collaborative discussions between Landon, his representative and our key club leaders, we have agreed to allow Landon to remain on an extended leave of absence and return to training with the team during the final week of March. We understand this arrangement is not ideal, but we are confident it will allow Landon the time he needs to be both mentally and physically prepared for the upcoming season. We remain focused on our preparation for the start of the 2013 season and look forward to Landon rejoining us next month.”

Donovan began talking last summer about the mental and physical wear and tear over a professional career that has already stretched 13 years. He spoke publicly of possible retirement, or at least an extended sabbatical. After the Galaxy’s MLS Cup win in early December, Donovan declined to say when he would re-join the Galaxy.

He has missed the team’s first four weeks of preseason training at this point.

The other branch on the tree here is the United States national team, which could still use Donovan’s contributions. (He is the national team’s all-time scoring leader, too.)

Donovan will miss the next two World Cup qualifiers, at least, March 22 in Denver against Costa Rica and March 26 against Mexico at Azteca Stadium, certainly the most difficult match of final round qualifying on the road to Brazil 2014. (The U.S. 2013 schedule is here.)

  1. player169 - Feb 17, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    Lame.

  2. scrock25 - Feb 17, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    What the f*ck is “soccer”.

    Wait, you just sit there and watch idiots kick a ball around?

    Sounds awesome.

    • unclemosesgreen - Feb 18, 2013 at 8:46 AM

      Occasionally a troll makes it all the way to the sub-basement of NBC Sports that is ProSoccerTalk. Welcome for the first and last time – presumably you got lost on the way to ProFootballTalk – and your favorite writer – Ron Florio.

      Where you write equally ridiculous comments about a sport where 2 guys are allowed to touch the ball with their feet. And where the Hall of Famers end up drooling into their porridge bowls by age 45.

      Anyhow, you are a trolling little bitch, but I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. Kiss up Meether for us.

      • scrock25 - Feb 18, 2013 at 9:48 AM

        Hahahaha, you Googled my screen name?? That’s awesome.

        I love the internet.

        Got you going good, didn’t I???

  3. pistol7pete - Feb 17, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    Same can be said about every sport,… the only idiot here is you.

  4. scrock25 - Feb 18, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    Cool man!!

  5. wandmdave - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    Dude. I love what Donovan has done for US Soccer and the Galaxy but I really don’t like the fact this is being tolerated by either of those organizations. He should have had an ultimatum as soon as training camp started and as soon as he waffled his contract should have been terminated. Its not like he can be trusted moving forward. Hopefully Klinnsman doesn’t bother with him and spends his time giving Donovan’s successor some experience. That said I’d rather have Donovan for one last hex then Johnson as a temporary solution.

    • Dan Haug - Feb 18, 2013 at 3:12 PM

      If I have an employee who I’ve worked with for 13 years (and has been my most valuable employee that entire time) come to me and say, “I’m burned out and need to take a sabbatical.” I’m going to respond the same way in that situation that the LA Galaxy and USSF has responded. I’m going to say, “I can give you a few months to try to resolve this. Take some time off, keep in touch and let me know what’s up.”

      That is what a good manager does: recognize when their employee has issues they need to deal with, and help them resolve those issues and become a productive member of the team again.

  6. player169 - Feb 18, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    No, a good manager says, take a few months off and then let me know if you are coming back or I need to replace you before the season – the big project starts – our big mission happens – insert job analogy.

    A good manager doesn’t let their “best” employee take so much time off that it affects the rest of the employees and comes in late on what the team is working on.

    The “best” employee knows enough not to let their teammates do their work/mission without them. That’s what makes them the best.

    I had respect for Donovan. Not much anymore. His actions are real lame…

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