Conor Casey on bike as he nears return to training

Casey nears return to training following surgeries

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – If you’d seen Conor Casey jogging around the practice fields outside of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park Wednesday, you might’ve thought all looked fine with the Colorado Rapids’ star striker.

However, Casey said definitively Wednesday that he will not be ready for the March 10 opener against the Columbus Crew as he continues to recover from a torn Achilles tendon suffered last July, as well as a separate sports hernia surgery last month.

WATCH: Casey nearing return to training

There had been hope that Casey might be ready to go for the opener. The Rapids said on Feb. 9 that Casey would be out another four to six weeks, putting his expected return right around the time of First Kick – but that won’t be the case, according to the striker.

“The Achilles is good, it’s coming along,” Casey told on Wednesday. “I’m hoping to be back training in a couple weeks.”

Casey is targeting the end of the month for his possible return, likely ruling him out of clashes on March 18 in Philadelphia and March 25 against New York. He’s hoping to be back training fully in 3-4 weeks, possibly pitting his possible return in time for the Rocky Mountain Showdown April 7 against Real Salt Lake.

“I’m still building up strength and flexibility and just working on that right now,” said Casey, who jogged around the practice fields for about 30 minutes with teammate Jamie Smith, who is recovering from a torn ACL.

But despite the fact that he won’t be able to play opening day, Casey is confident that it won’t be too much larger until he’ll be back out on the field.

“It feels good, it feels really good,” Casey said. “It feels like the hernia surgery was definitely taken care of and the Achilles is healed now and it’s just building up strength.”