TORONTO (Sunday, August 5, 2007) -- David Beckham, it seems, won't make his Major League Soccer debut tonight when his Los Angeles Galaxy visits Toronto FC.
Even with his ailing left ankle, Beckham did make the trip with the team to Canada. "Unless there's a drastic change, I won't be playing tomorrow," he said at a Toronto press conference yesterday. "Today was the first time that I ran. Running straight forward is not a problem, but turning corners is still a problem and I don't think I'll be involved in the game."
Beckham also cast doubt on whether he will be able to play Thursday when the Galaxy visits D.C. United. United, which averages about 17,000 per game, has announced a sellout of over 45,000 at RFK Stadium.
"It would be nice to play some part of the game in Washington but I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed," Beckham said. "A week to 10 days is what I'm looking at. . .
"Today, running like I did was a huge step for me because I haven't really been able to move on it at all. The problem is it being my left ankle. The way I strike the ball puts a lot of stress on my left ankle. Maybe if it was the right one, it would be a lot easier, but being the left one there's still a lot of stress. And I never play with strapping or tape on my ankles, so that doesn't help either. But it would be nice to play some part in the game in Washington, but I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed and work at it."
Tonight's 7:30 (ET) match in Toronto and Thursday's game in Washington will be broadcast by ESPN2.
Beckham, 32, has yet to participate fully in a Galaxy training session since he joined the team July 16. He originally injured his ankle June 6 playing for England in a 2008 European Championships qualifier and then aggravated it with Real Madrid.
"I sprained it playing for England, played again four days after for Real Madrid with the sprain and pulled the ligaments," Beckham said. "Then I played the last game of the season for Real Madrid (June 17) with three injections to numb my ankle, so you can imagine what my ankle looked like after the game. I ripped the ligaments in that last game so it was a bit of a mess. Then I went on holiday to recuperate and then when I arrived in L.A., it was the first time I really had treatment apart from about a week of fitness work that I was doing in the south of France.
Beckham said he had no regrets playing in the Madrid finale, a 3-1 victory over Mallorca that clinched the Spanish La Liga championship.
"I personally have never agreed with any injections and anything that could be unnatural," he said. "I like to feel naturally fit going into games, but I think because we were going for the league title and we needed to win the last two games. I would have done anything to play in that game. It wasn't healthy, it wasn't maybe the right thing to do in the long term, but I did it and at the end of the day I'm glad I did it. I played in a game for 65 minutes and we ended up winning the league. It's something I did at the time and it's obviously not done me much good leading up to these last few weeks, but I did and that's it."
Beckham probably didn't help himself by making a 15-minute appearance at the Galaxy's exhibition match against English power Chelsea July 21, an internationally televised home match. In the closing moments, he went down after a fierce tackle to his ankles and briefly writhed in pain on the turf.
Also on Beckham's mind is playing for England, which is in a battle in its attempt to qualify for the 2008 European Championships. England's next Group E match is at home September 8 with Israel.
"All that's on my mind at the moment is getting myself fit," he said. "If I'm fit, obviously I have to play a few games before I even think about going home to England to play for the country. But my main priority at the moment is getting myself fit and getting myself playing for the Galaxy. Getting on the training pitch, to be honest, that's my biggest goal at the moment. Hopefully then, I'll be able to get a few games in and play for the country."