After five months on the sidelines with an Achilles' tendon injury, David Beckham returned to the practice field with the Los Angeles Galaxy Wednesday afternoon.
Beckham, who is one month ahead of his recovery schedule, kicked the ball around with teammates, and also participated in running and passing drills to start the practice session, according to ESPN.com. The international soccer superstar spent the rest of practice with the team trainer and strength and conditioning coach working on drills to strengthen his tendon.
The midfielder still has to wait six more weeks until he can play in a competitive match. His return date is slated for Sept. 4 against Chicago. Beckham will be paying close attention to his healing tendon throughout the six-week period, ensuring he does not rupture it while training.
"I've been waiting for this, almost five months to get back on the field," Beckham told ESPN.com. "Obviously, there's still an air of caution I have to take. I don't want to re-rupture it and be out again. I have to take my time. … I'll know when I'm ready. Obviously, I'll listen to the advice from the physios and the doctors, but in the end it will be me knowing if I'm ready or not."
Beckham's MLS teammates and coaches were surprised by his willingness to participate in practice drills so soon in his recovery process, but they weren't surprised by his desire to get back onto the pitch.
"I was expecting him just to be walking around and kind of being like a mascot out here. … I mean, it's remarkable," midfielder Chris Klein told the website. "I know he's worked very, very hard. I know he hasn't been sitting at home or hanging out at the beach. He's been in the gym and trying to recover and really trying to do the right things for his body."
"If anyone can make it back a little earlier, he's one guy who could," associate head coach Dave Sarachan added. "We don't want to get too crazy-optimistic, but he's doing really well, and it doesn't surprise me that he's got the chance to maybe make it back."
The Achilles' rupture was the first major injury Beckham has experienced throughout his expansive international career. He was playing on loan to AC Milan in March when he suffered the blow to his tendon, which not only counted him out for the start of the 2010 MLS season, but also for the World Cup. Beckham's native England won just one game of four in South Africa.
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