Mike Grella appears to be ready and fit for the Red Bulls upcoming training camp as offseason surgery and rehab appears to have progressed on-time.
An influential midfielder and a near constant starter on the wing for head coach Jesse Marsch the past two years, Grella played the last couple of months of the season with an injury that forced him to eventually go under the knife. Still, Grella enjoyed a very strong start to the 2016 season and finished with a very solid seven goals and six assists.
Shortly after the Red Bulls playoff run ended, Grella had surgery on No. 17 for a hernia on his right side. A team source tells Metro New York that Grella has been back and running for nearly a month – “for [over] three weeks now” – and looks set for preseason training in August.
The source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Grella is “fully ready” for the start of training camp. This would seem to put him on a timetable to be ready and available the Red Bulls CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals match against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Feb. 25.
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The wide midfield battle for the Red Bulls will be fascinating to watch. There is Grella, who has earned a reputation around the league as one of the most exciting players on the dribble. There is also Alex Muyl, who became a starter as a rookie for the team come midseason on the right side, very often opposite Grella. Then there is Daniel Royer, an Austrian international who was signed in the summer and like Grella, capable of playing either wing.
Also in the mix is Gonzalo Veron, a Designated Player who is set for his second full season in New York but has yet to make a long-lasting impact with the team. The Red Bulls also used their first round in last week’s MLS SuperDraft on Zeiko Lewis, a wide player from Boston College.