Colorado Rapids rookie midfielder Dillon Powers has played in 30 of the club's 31 games this year, the most of any player. However his status for Wednesday's game at San Jose remains in doubt after experiencing concussion symptoms following a hit to the head in Saturday's 5-1 win over Seattle.
"Dillon is feeling better," Pareja said after Monday's training. "We are following the protocols with the doctors at this point, and waiting for an answer."
In the 57th minute of the game, Powers jumped up to flick a ball backwards when he clashed heads with Seattle defender Zach Scott. Play was stopped immediately as both players lay on the ground before being attended to by their respective trainers. Powers walked off the field under his own will but was replaced by Martin Rivero. Scott was bandaged to stop the bleeding and continued.
Afterwards, doctors told Pareja that Powers did experience concussion symptoms.
"Initially the symptoms seemed like that could be, but we want to make sure that we, first, follow the protocol, second, give the doctors enough time to evaluate him, and third, defend the integrity of the player," Pareja said. "[Powers] feels better. The players always want to play, but we want to go beyond that. Their health is the priority."
Under Major League Soccer's concussion protocol, players must pass a series of neurological and physical exams before being cleared to resume training or playing. On Monday Powers did some light jogging and shooting on his own while the team held a light session.
Powers had a goal and an assist as the Rapids were leading 4-0 before he was removed as a precaution.
If the 22-year-old is not available to play Wednesday, Pareja has the luxury of having several options to fill the midfield role, including Rivero and Nick LaBrocca.
"It's not something that is unusual for us that we have to deal with challenges when someone can't play," Pareja said. "We have options, and we have people who are fresh and are eager to help."
Wednesday's match at San Jose kicks off at 8:30 p.m. MT and will be broadcast live on Altitude TV.