Commerce City, Colo. - The team breathed a collective sigh of relief Friday upon learning that the MRI on midfielder Brian Mullan's left knee revealed no major damage. Still, Mullan, who was injured in the first half of Wednesday's loss at DC, won't be available Saturday when the Rapids host Sporting KC at Dick's Sporting Goods Park (7 pm MT).
At least for this match, Mullan joins the 'injured-and-unavailable' list that also includes Pablo Mastroeni, Ross LaBauex, Anthony Wallace, Jamie Smith, Marvell Wynne, and Omar Cummings.
"Our credibility does not rely on only 11 players, but with the entire roster," coach Oscar Pareja said. "I expect the players who replace those who are out injured to take advantage of their opportunity to be in the starting 11. It's not easy. We have important players that are injured, but I will be the first to show confidence in the players who are playing, and they have to do just as good a job, if not better."
Mullan was one of five players to start all 11 games, playing on the right side, be it as a midfielder or forward. The medical staff will proceed with treatment on what is being called a sprained knee. No timeline has been set for his return, however, it's possible that he could only miss a game or two. Nothing will be known until the staff evaluates how Mullan's knee responds to the initial treatment.
Who will take his place on the field Saturday is unknown. Based on players who have been on recent gameday roster, Wells Thompson, Kamani Hill, Edu, or Harrison Henao could be options. As could Kosuke Kimura or Hunter Freeman, who have alternated at right back for the past three games.
One thing is certain. Pareja does not plan on throwing out his possession based philosophy despite the absent players.
"The players know we have a style, a way I see the game," Pareja said. "The guys continue to believe in this process, so I won't change it."