The New England Revolution are being cautious with Henry Kessler as he returns from a hamstring injury.
On Sunday, Kessler was a member of the starting lineup for the first time since May 15. The center back played 45 minutes before being replaced by Jon Bell. It was a preplanned substitution to help ease Kessler back from a hamstring issue that has plagued him throughout the season.
“We talked about it before, we were going to get me 45 [minutes] and hope to build rather than throw me in there for 90 immediately,” Kessler said after the game. “It has been a hamstring and it’s been something that’s recurring. Gio Reyna’s been dealing with it a lot, so it’s not uncommon to have it be reinjured but that’s what I’ve been dealing with.”
Kessler explained that it’s been “difficult” dealing with this ailment, noting that “just when you think you’re out of the woods it happens again or you tweak it again.” He hopes that “this is the final time” that he’s dealing with this injury.
Kessler stayed connected with his teammates while he rehabbed. He attended home games, made phone calls when the team was on the road, and was a constant presence in the training facility.
Of course, nothing is better than being side by side on the field. Kessler said it “felt good” to play again, though he was “disappointed” with the own goal he scored. The performance, which saw him make several clutch tackles and complete 27 of his 28 passes, is something to build on.
Kessler offered praise for Bell, who played the second half of Sunday’s 2-2 draw with FC Cincinnati. Bell made three consecutive starts before Kessler’s return to the lineup.
“I think he’s great,” Kessler said of Bell. “We push each other. Obviously, he’s been doing well—a clean sheet against Vancouver and a good performance today. It’s a good relationship [that we have].”