If you're not rooting for Charlie Davies to make his US National Team comeback in South Africa this summer, you're either English, Algerian, Slovenian, or you simply don't have a soul.
Charlie's story has been amazing, and he hasn't even yet returned to the field. He is in the stretch run to a post-accident debut for Sochaux, though, and the most recent news is encouraging. CD9 is back in training, talking about things like "shooting" and "finishing" and giving us all the belief that he can be back and a contributor again by the time the World Cup rolls around (in 75 days for those of you counting). The man's singular focus and determination should be rightly applauded.
In that spirit, I wanted to review Davies' journey to this point in his recovery and rehabilitation with a time line of his comeback. Hopefully I'll be updating this post as the days pass by with news of Charlie's progress to end with his triumphant appearance on the field in South Africa. Included with each entry, in order to provide perspective, is a count of the number of days since the accident, and the number of days until the World Cup opener on June 12th.
Days Until the World Cup: 242
The day of the accident. With the US National Team in Washington for their final Hexagonal qualifier against Costa Rica, news begins to filter out that Davies was involved in an accident on Virgina's George Washington Parkway. Twitter explodes, and when it's finally known that Charlie is in the hospital, the American soccer community scrambles to get updates. Charlie undergoes surgery on multiple injuries, including a lacerated bladder, a fractured femur and a fractured tibia.
Days since the accident: 1
Days until the World Cup: 241
The day of USA-Costa Rica. The pro-US crowd, thanks to online word-of-mouth, coordinates a 9th minute tribute to the fallen striker. Banners line the field, and after Jonathan Bornstein's last-gasp goal gives the Americans a draw (and seals first place in the Hex), the players gather at midfield to honor their friend and teammate. Landon Donovan grabs the banner of US fan Erin Dutka, which includes Charlie's number and the initials of Ashley Roberta, the young woman who died in the crash.
Days since the accident: 28
Days until the World Cup: 214
Davies is released from the hospital. Charlie issues a statement saying that he is anxious to attack rehab. His prognosis is reported as favorable, though little is made of his World Cup chances. Washington Hospital Center's director of orthopedic trauma terms is a "long recovery". Most outlets report the time line for rehab at 6-12 months, without mention of an actual return to competitive soccer.
Days since the accident: 46
Days until the World Cup: 196
Davies rehabs in Delaware. Alongside fellow injured Yank Oguchi Onyewu, Charlie works with USMNT trainer Jim Hashimoto. His progress is described as "fantastic".
Days since the accident: 48
Days until the World Cup: 194
Davies appears on ESPN (full audio from ESPN Radio). Jeremy Schaap interviews Davies, who speaks about the personal changes he's gone through since the accident, and states firmly that he will be back for the World Cup.
Days since the accident: 86
Days until the World Cup: 156
Davies visits US National Team camp in LA and is walking on his own.
Days since the accident: 112
Days until the World Cup: 130
Ives Galarcep profiles Davies for ESPN Soccernet. The striker says getting back for the World Cup will be "easy" but that he is focused on returning to his club in France.
Days since the accident: 119
Days until the World Cup: 123
Davies has the last surgical procedure of his recovery, an operation to repair his elbow.
Days since the accident: 126
Days until the World Cup: 112
Charlie returns to France to continue his rehab, intent on getting back to training with Sochaux before the end of March.
Days since the accident: 128
Days until the World Cup: 114
Sochaux posts an interview with Davies, which includes a description of the injuries he suffered and his goals for his recovery.
After returning briefly to Sochaux, Davies heads to Capbreton to finish his rehabilitation.
Days since the accident: 148
Days until the World Cup: 94
Davies hits the third week of his Capbreton rehab stay. Still aiming for an April return to the field for Sochaux, he has two weeks to go before returning to the club. His routine includes running, cutting, and agility drills.
Days since the accident: 161
Days until the World Cup: 81
Charlie returns to Sochaux. He's running, and plans three weeks of individual work before joining his teammates in regular training.
Days since the accident: 164
Days until the World Cup: 78
Davies holds a press conference at Sochaux to discuss his recovery. He talks about training with the ball, and hopes to work on shooting, dribbling and finishing shortly. In perhaps the most heartening news to this point, he states that he has no lingering pain from his injuries. He targets the next three weeks as "very important".
Days since the accident: 189
Days until the World Cup: 49
In a French language interview, Sochaux chairman states that Charlie will not play in any Ligue 1 matches this season. The news is a setback for Charlie's World Cup chances; Bob Bradley's only opportunity to evaluate Davies in game conditions will be during the US send off friendlies scheduled for May.
-Turns out the previous entry may not preclude Charlie from playing; after the news broke, further followup indicated that the chairman was stating his opinion and not a overarching decision by the club.
Days since the accident: 193
Days until the World Cup: 45
On Twitter, Charlie Davies announces that he has returned to full training with Sochaux. This news opens the door for a end-of-season appearance or two, and marks a major milestone in his recovery. After just six and a half months after the accident, he is back on the field with his club teammates. The rush to the World Cup truly begins now, with Bob Bradley's preliminary 30-man roster due in just fifteen days (May 11).
Days since the accident: 209
Days until the World Cup: 30
Charlie fails to make the 30-man preliminary roster that was his first hurdle to getting to the World Cup. The comeback for that tournament ends here, though Davie's return to the field for Sochaux next season is almost certain.
Charlie's comeback came up short of his World Cup goal, but the striker finally returned to the field in a competitive environment. Back with Sochaux, Davies played 45 minutes in a mini-tournament pre-season match against Swiss side Neuchâtel Xamax.