LOS ANGELES -- On Thursday, David Beckham was finally working out with his Los Angeles Galaxy teammates. However, their practice field was empty. The entire team was indoors, working on fitness and recovery, basically joining Beckham in the training room.
However, the good news was that Beckham had improved enough to make the team's trip to Toronto (Sunday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2).
"He ran today, on the treadmill," said coach Frank Yallop. "He's traveling."
Whether he will play, however, is another question.
"We'll see how he feels in reaction to what he did today and go from there," said Yallop. "I saw him running and he's not limping.
"It'd be tough, to put him in the lineup, with what he's been doing, he hasn't been training with the team. The chance is probably slim."
Kyle Martino, another injured Galaxy player, pointed out that Toronto's artificial surface wasn't easy for a recovering athlete to deal with.
"It's not an ideal way to come back from on injury, playing on the turf," said Martino. "Playing on that stuff wears you down."
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"We'll get a look at him on Saturday and see what he thinks. We'll strap the boots on and see what he's feeling like," said Yallop.
All the Galaxy players are going on the current road trip which sees the Galaxy face Toronto FC, D.C. United and the New England Revolution.
"We're not coming back here until the Sunday night after the New England game [Aug. 12]," said Yallop.
Galaxy captain Landon Donovan saw the stretch as a time for the team to get to know their superstar teammate better.
"We have a chance to get away from all this and be together, travel together, eating together," said Donovan. "It's finally a chance to bond. It'll be good for [Beckham] too. I think he needs to get away a little bit. There's been a lot going on -- for all of us."
However, Donovan wanted to see Beckham on the field more than anything else.
"The most important thing for us is getting him on the field. We need to start bonding with him on the field, learning the little things."
For Beckham, his teammates and the eager American public that has waited to see him at full strength, the ankle injury has been a spoiler.
"It's slow," said Yallop. "I think we're all surprised that it's not getting better quickly. But he hurt it pretty good."
Yallop described it as an injury that could improve substantially from day to day.
"[Beckham] said it's feeling a lot better," Yallop said. "He wouldn't be running on it if it was hurting that badly."
The Galaxy could definitely use their star midfielder. The team not only is low on points, but faces a difficult stretch of many games in a short amount of time.
Some hope remains partly because the Galaxy have looked better in recent matches. The star's absence seems to have galvanized the Galaxy players. Perhaps eager to prove their own worth, they have scored nine goals in their last three matches and suprisingly advanced to the semifinals of the SuperLiga tournament.
Team chemistry is a tricky thing, and the publicity over Beckham's arrival has distracted the team before. How Beckham meshes with his teammates when he starts to play could well determine the squad's fate in their race to make the playoffs.
Yallop believed Beckham was eager for the challenge.
"He just wants to play. He's so frustrated that he's not on the field with the players."
Andrea Canales covers MLS and women's college soccer for ESPNsoccernet. She also writes for soccer365.com and contributes to a blog, Sideline Views. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.