United's Kitchen shocked his injury is not worse

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Sports,MLS,D.C. United,Craig Stouffer

MRI on knee revealed no structural damage

Perry Kitchen said his right knee was feeling better when he got off the plane the day after he had to exit D.C. United's 1-0 loss at Houston early after landing awkwardly on an aerial challenge.

But he still couldn't believe it when the doctor handed him an MRI that revealed no structural damage.

"Shocked, shocked. Very thankful," Kitchen said. "I watched [the play on video]. It looked bad. It felt bad. When the doc told me, I was like, 'Are you kidding me? Did you read the right MRI?' There's still a little bit of pain but nothing serious."

Up Next
Rapids at D.C. United
When » Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Where » RFK Stadium
TV » Comcast SportsNet

Kitchen was back at practice Tuesday and could play if necessary against the Colorado Rapids (5-5-0), a positive sign for injury-riddled D.C. United (5-4-3), which remains undermanned ahead of the first of a crucial three-match homestand.

"It's an absolute relief," United coach Ben Olsen said. "Perry's funny. He was upset at himself because he came out of the game and the fact that he had nothing injured. He was really, really upset at himself."

Despite the loss last weekend, United's second defeat in three games, the team remains positive that it isn't the same group that squandered a potential playoff spot by going winless in its final six games (0-5-1) last year. Through 12 games this season, United is in third in the Eastern Conference, the same place it was at the same point in 2011.

"After these two weeks, we've got a long stretch of a break," said United forward Chris Pontius, who is battling a gluteal muscle issue but also practiced and proclaimed himself available. "If [Olsen] puts me in the lineup, then I will be ready to go."

Both Dejan Jakovic (ankle) and Ethan White (knee surgery) could bolster the United defense, which has given up a majority of goals (10 of 16) in the second half, including six goals between the 61st and 75th minutes. But D.C. has also scored 13 of its own 20 goals after halftime, including seven in the same stretch when its defense has been at its worst.

Both midfielder Branko Boskovic and forward Hamdi Salihi, who have been used primarily as second-half substitutes, could spark the offense if Pontius and Maicon Santos, who has also been battling a calf problem, can't start.

"I think we're an explosive team," Olsen said. "But we still need to be a little bit better in possession, still trying to again just tighten up everything we're about. We have a long way to go. We've caught some teams at good times. We've got some points. We're in an OK situation right now, but we have games in hand so the spot we're in the standings is a little bit skewed."

Olsen said he plans to rely on Boskovic heavily over the next month and a half, but United has made no determination on whether it plans to retain the Montenegrin midfielder after his contract expires at the end of June.

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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Craig Stouffer

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner