Back when Weston McKennie was first diagnosed with two broken bones in his left foot after Juve’s 1-1 dr, the timetable laid out by Juventus’ medical team was about an eight-week rehab process, which would be quite the crunch to have the American midfielder come back before the end of the season.
Not too long after, Juve manager Max Allegri announced after Juve’s March 6 win over Spezia that McKennie, who started his rehab work in the United States after surgery, was going to be for the rest of the season.
But now there’s a little bit of a twist in McKennie’s road to full fitness.
Speaking after the United States learned of its World Cup group during Friday’s draw, McKennie said that he hopes to be back on the field in some sort of capacity before the end of April, which would mean he could be available for Juventus’ final handful of games as well as a potential appearance in the Coppa Italia final.
“For me, when I speak in terms of being back in April, in my head I would assume that means being back playing or at least at minimum training fully with the squad,” said McKennie. “That’s a goal that I’ve set for myself.”
Here is the full answer from McKennie:
"The ideal journey for me right now would be to be back by April."— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) April 1, 2022
Weston McKennie hopes to return to action with Juventus in April. ⚫⚪ pic.twitter.com/Ww4Hs6sEeF
As you might notice, he doesn’t necessarily say that he is shooting to get back into games before the end of April. That’s the key point in this, and the determining factor will be what his body allows him to do no matter how much he wants to be able to contribute during games or just get back onto the practice field with the rest of the squad.
But you gotta respect the desire to get back to it before the Serie A season ends in in May. (For the record, Juve’s final league fixture is tentatively scheduled for May 22 against Fiorentina ... in Florence.)
Having McKennie back in some sort of capacity for the final month of the season would be a huge boost for a Juventus team that has essentially been playing with three midfielders (or sometimes less) for weeks now. Allegri will get a boost this weekend when Denis Zakaria returns from his month-long spell on the sidelines, and McKennie coming back later this month would be another big development in the race for the top four. When McKennie got injured in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 tie against Villarreal — no comment about how that tie played out — he was one of Juve’s most in-form players and his loss was certainly felt because the Bianconeri’s midfield lost a dynamic nobody else could replace.
A lot of us have been hoping for some sort of high-energy midfield with McKennie and Zakaria together, and that could very well happen at some point soon before the season is over. That could be fun.