Davies Struggling With Comeback

Friday, September 24, 2010 | View Comments
SOCCER/FUTBOL ELIMINATORIAS CONCACAF 2010 MEXICO VS ESTADOS UNIDOS TIEMPO DE CELEBRAR EL GOL Action photo of Charlie Davis of USA, during World Cup 2010 qualifier game against USA at the Azteca Stadium./Foto de accion de Charlie Davis de USA durante juego eliminatorio de Copa del Mundo 2010 en el Estadio Azteca. 12 August 2009. MEXSPORT/JORGE REYES Photo via Newscom

Let's be completely honest here: we got ahead of ourselves when it came to the recovery of Charlie Davies.  Charlie Davies got ahead of himself when it came to the recovery of Charlie Davies.  All the faith, belief, and hope in the world couldn't heal Charlie, and turn him back into the footballer he should be, faster than nature would allow.

Nature, clearly, is a bitch.  Charlie's efforts to get back that old magic are painful, frustrating, and slow; despite the uproar over Davies' omission from the US World Cup team, time has proven that Bob Bradley made the right decision.  As Davies struggles to play effective soccer in France's fourth division as part of Sochaux's reserve team, we can only imagine how out of his depth he would have been in South Africa.  If Bradley had bowed to pressure or made the sentimental choice, Davies would have undoubtedly found himself plastered to the bench, reduced to the role of an inspirational team mascot.  That might have been a positive, or, more likely an unnecessary distraction.

It should be considered if, in his rush to get back, Charlie did damage to his rehabilitation.  Hindsight is perfect, and allows us to see that June was entirely too early for Davies to be back in soccer shape, but that conclusion only works because Davies handled his comeback the way he did.  If this wasn't a World Cup year, or if Charlie had taken a more pragmatic approach to getting back on the field, might he be ahead of where he is currently?  Pushing to get back is admirable, but rehab is often not a matter of simple mental determination; if the body isn't ready, working beyond what is advisable might slow or even arrest any progress.

 Nothing coming out of France gives much hope that Davies will be the speedy scoring threat of old any time soon, and even nods to a possible January breakthrough seem like nothing more than idle wishing.  October for the US National Team is out, a possible November friendly is probably out, and a call-in to January camp is complicated by whether Sochaux would even allow it.  The investment is their's, and we can't expect US Soccer to push for Davies' release just because he's not featuring in Ligue 1.

More frightening than this lengthening of the Davies recovery timeline is the possibility that he might never get back to his old self.  Let's not forget just how traumatic his injuries were: unlike an injury suffered while playing, Davies' return wasn't simply predicated on the strength of one joint or bone.  Multiple injuries, damage to internal organs and the general shock to his body mean that getting back on the field and playing at a high level was never a sure thing.  Like it or not, there's a very real possibility that Charlie Davies will never again be good enough to play for the National Team.

That doesn't mean it can't happen, just that it remains a long shot.  The attention around Charlie and his struggle to get back to have faded, but the entire community is still pulling for him.  We may just have to wait, while keeping in mind that it might never happen, for Charlie to get back on top of the proverbial mountain.

This is realism, not doubt.  No matter what we hope, the name of Charlie Davies appearing again on a USMNT roster is not a foregone conclusion.
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