HANOVER, N.J. – It was a rare sight in any sport on Thursday afternoon for the New York Red Bulls as a player on season-ending injured reserve (IR) was practicing with his teammates.
What makes it so intriguing is that the season is basically just one-third completed.
Gideon Baah trained with his Red Bulls teammates on Thursday, lacing up his cleats and taking part in set piece training. It has been a gradual progression onto the practice field for Baah, who broke his leg last July and missed the rest of 2016, his first year in MLS.
Then he was placed on IR this season, a bit puzzling at first blush.
In recent weeks Baah, who has played once for Ghana’s national team, has done more running and sprinting on the field and been doing individual ball work with the training staff. Thursday marked his first progression into live ball work with his teammates, something that normally would indicate a player on the mend.
He is making progress, head coach Jesse Marsch revealed, who offered some insight into why the team went the route of a full long injury designation.
“As disappointing as it is for Gideon and us to put him on season IR, what it does is it allows him to get fully back to health. So that’s the main focus and yea we can use USL games in the process,” Marsch said. “I wonder if…I’m not sure if we can loan him for Open Cup games. It’s a possibility [for] either, right?”
As for if the player’s status could be revoked and he could become an active member of the squad, Marsch was uncertain.
“I don’t know enough of the rules,” Marsch said with a laugh, then joking that future inquiries should go to sporting director Denis Hamlett.