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Columbus Crew SC injury update

What’s up with injured Black & Gold players?

MLS: Portland Timbers at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a relatively clean bill of health start to the year for Columbus Crew SC.

Columbus began the season with Waylon Francis (shoulder surgery) and Dilly Duka (calf contusion) recovering from injuries, but both have made it back to full training and Francis played 90 minutes against the Portland Timbers two weeks ago.

The only injury that has forced a starter to miss time is the one suffered by Jonathan Mensah. The center back left the match with the Timbers in the second half after a collision with Diego Valeri.

Early last week, Berhalter said the MRI showed a slight hamstring strain and there was hope the Designated Player could return for Saturday’s game with Orlando City.

That did not happen and rookie Alex Crognale stepped in to help post a shutout in a 2-0 victory.

During Sunday’s scrimmage, Jonathan was seen doing some timed jogging around one full-size training field and appeared to be running fine. With the team off Monday, Berhalter addressed Jonathan’s status for this week on Tuesday.

“Jonathan’s improving,” he said. “He’s getting better. He’s doing more activity. We’ll take it day by day.”

Mensah, who was signed in the offseason, started each of the Black & Gold’s first two matches at central defender before a late red card against the Houston Dynamo forced him to miss Week 3. He returned for 73 minutes of action against Portland before the injury.

While Crew SC would certainly like to have its highest paid defender on the field in this week’s match against the Chicago Fire, the performances of Crongale — two starts, two shutouts — makes it easier not to rush Jonathan back too quickly.

Another week and once again a lack of a timetable for Jonathan.

The only other injury of note is for a player not even with the club currently.

Monday night, a report came out from Guatemala that midfielder Rodrigo Saravia, who is on loan with Swedish second division side IK Frej, underwent successful surgery.

“This is a tricky one,” Berhalter said when asked about the report. “He’s not on our roster. He’s on loan. But what I’ll say is he broke his fifth metatarsal and he got operated on and they put a screw in his fifth metatarsal. He’s going to do the recovery there and we hope that he’s available to play again with his team in eight to 10 weeks.”

Saravia, the 19th-overall selection in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, played 10 matches for Crew SC during his rookie year, starting one. He played primarily as a defensive midfielder, but also lined up at center back when Columbus were without other options.

With the depth in the midfield increasing this season, Berhalter wanted to loan Saravia to a club where he could play, but would also challenge him.

While this won’t directly affect the Black & Gold right now, Saravia’s injury will slow his development, which was ultimately the point of sending him on loan.

Massive Report will stay on top of both of these injuries and report any news that comes out about either player.