Arena says Donovan will play in 2013

Posted at 01/23/13 6:55 PM

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles Galaxy captain Landon Donovan will return to the defending Major League Soccer champions in 2013, coach Bruce Arena says, even though the US striker has missed early workouts with the club.

"We've given him a little more time off," Arena said. "He is definitely playing this year, but we're just working out a return date that makes sense for all of us. We're working that out soon."

No timetable has been set and there is no word if Donovan plans to return to the US national team for this year's North American final qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Arena met with Donovan last weekend and said that the US veteran feels well.

"I think he just needs a little bit more of an extended leave of absence. He has got a couple of years that have taken their toll and he needs a little bit more time."

The Galaxy open the MLS season in 40 days. For now, making that opener would not be a fitness concern for Donovan, although Arena said that could come if Donovan's absence lingers.

"The longer that he takes off, it will take him longer to be ready to play," Arena said. "Generally, we would like to see some players get three or four weeks to bring their fitness along."

The Americans open World Cup qualifying on February 6 in Honduras but Donovan is not expected to play in that match as he ponders his future. The next US qualifying match will be in suburban Denver against Costa Rica on March 22.

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