Buddle to miss opener, aiming to play March 9

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – When the Colorado Rapids unveil their new-look squad in Dallas for the first time on Saturday night (6:30 pm MT, Altitude TV), one of the newest faces won't be on the field.

Forward Edson Buddle is still recovering from residual knee fluid buildup and is hoping a full week of training will have him ready for the team's home opener against Philadelphia on March 9.

"I won't be traveling this week to play versus Dallas," Buddle told ColoradoRapids.com. "I should be ready next week, I'm assuming. I just want to be positive, so I'm going to talk to another doctor."

The club’s marquee offseason acquisition will fly to his native New York over the weekend for further evaluation.

“Next week, I’m thinking to be full training with the team,” Buddle told MLSsoccer.com Wednesday afternoon. “See the doctor in New York on Monday, get a third look at it and hopefully all goes well there and I’ll be ready next week.”

The former LA Galaxy star underwent right knee surgery for a torn meniscus last June, and then he suffered a recurrence of fluid buildup in the same knee in January. Buddle underwent plasma-rich therapy in LA, but he hasn’t practiced fully with the Rapids since joining the team earlier this month.

“I need a full week of training with the team where it’s not on my mind that something else goes wrong,” said Buddle, who was acquired from the LA Galaxy in a December trade. “I just want to be confident instead of making it worse. If I need to get surgery, I’ll get surgery.”

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Buddle says he’s felt better over the last few weeks.

“I feel all right," he told MLSsoccer.com. "Of course, coming back from any injury, no matter what it is, you take it step by step. You never have an injury that just gets better right away. It feels good, no [knee] fluid.”

The absence of the 2010 World Cup veteran leaves the Rapids’ strikeforce thin and young against Dallas. Rookie DeShorn Brown could make his MLS debut on Saturday – “I’m not afraid to throw those [young] guys in,” head coach Oscar Pareja told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday – with Atiba Harris and Andre Akpan as other options at striker.

Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.