Buddle returns to training, working on match fitness

Forward given clearance to practice, doesn't anticipate playing in home opener

Edson Buddle received the confidence boost he was hoping for over the weekend when he met with Rapids team doctor Dr. Wayne Gersoff.

"He said things are looking good and I'm making good progress," Buddle told ColoradoRapids.com Wednesday afternoon.

Buddle is returning from an injury on his right knee that flaired up while with the U.S. National Team in the January camp.

On Tuesday he participated in his first extended team workout with a small group of players at the Sports Dome in Centennial. Wednesday he trained with the full team at Dick's Sporting Goods Park - without restrictions - for the first time since joining the Rapids in a trade with the LA Galaxy over the offseason.

"I was a little bit winded," Buddle admitted afterwards. "I'm trying to get my lungs back."

Getting back to full match fitness - while being closely monitored by the team - will be the next steps for Buddle. He doesn't anticipate he'll be ready to play in Saturday's home opener against Philadelphia (4 p.m. MT).

"I prefer to play in a reserve game before I jump into a regular game," he said.

His first chance could come Sunday, as the Rapids, for now, are still scheduled to scrimmage the Air Force Academy.

The Rapids next match after Saturday is on March 16 at Real Salt Lake, followed by the first Reserve League match of the season on March 17 agaisnt RSL's reserves.