Since the season began, Frank Lampard had only trained on his own, away from his NYCFC teammates. A nagging calf injury -- that rascally gastrocnemius!!! -- had kept him at bay.
For a whole half-hour, Dank Frank was back in action. He was in the mix!
It's kinda hard to believe.
As gaffer Patrick Vieira told reporters yesterday, "Frank had the first part of the training with the team today. Regarding how the calf will react tomorrow [will decide if] he’ll do the full session. He’s getting close."
In terms of rhetoric, to be fair, Vieira's singing the same tune he's sung all year: Frank is working hard. Frank looks better every day. No, there's no timetable for his return. Oh, gosh, sorry, my ride's here. But this is the first tangible progress we've seen over the course of Lampard's agonizing recovery process that's caused him to miss ten whole games and counting this year.
For now, a little something feels like a whole lot.
The prognosis was not quite as sun-shiny for another talented midfielder still awaiting his debut: Jack Harrison, the Pride of Bolton. The top pick in January's MLS SuperDraft is still training solo, although Vieira suggested he'd be fit to train with his New York City teammates by next week.
Since neither player has officially participated in full training -- 30 minutes doesn't count as "full" -- they haven't been available to the media. Ahem, I mean the SPORTS media. Lampard's been media-ing his face off this year, actually. And we're going to keep ribbing him until he's back on the pitch and scoring goals and winning games. At the very least, though, this week has brought with it some modicum of progress in his recovery.
I'm not saying NYCFC shouldn't attempt to dissolve his contract by mutual consent and sign a better, younger, fitter DP, perhaps a number-ten playmaker, but we gotta play the hand we're dealt. No team, certainly not one in a massive media market, should have to suffer the indignity of having one of its three DP spots laying fallow. It's just not fair to the fans. But here's the good news for Lamps-- all he has to do is score, and we'll shut up.
For a guy with such an eye for goal as his, that's not so much to ask, is it?