Graham Zusi likely to miss Saturday's match, Jimmy Nielsen set to return to action

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Peter Vermes is prepared to scratch Graham Zusi from Saturday's match against New York after suffering an injury in Wednesday's All-Star Game, while goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen is set to return despite meningitis.

Sporting KC midfielder Graham Zusi and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen are both pressing manger Peter Vermes' hand as the squad prepares for a vital Eastern Conference match-up with New York at Sporting Park Saturday evening.

Zusi, who's dealing with a quad strain that took him out of Wednesday's All-Star Game in the 24th minute, is a likely scratch according to Vermes who spoke to the media Thursday.

"It's still very similar to last night, just really tightened up," Vermes told MLSsoccer.com after Thursday's training session. "So it's just day-to-day. We don't know right now. But right now, I'm planning on that he's not going to be playing. That could change, but that's what I'm planning on."

With a busy August and September ahead for Zusi, including the MLS regular season, CONCACAF Champions League and World Cup Qualifying, there's no reason to rush back to action, which is exactly what the midfielder echoed to reporters Thursday.

"You don't want to come back too early from things, but who knows? Tomorrow it could be feeling great, or worse, or the same," he said. "We're going day to day, getting a lot of treatment on it a couple of times a day. It's a busy month, that's for sure. You don't want to come back too early."

Captain Jimmy Nielsen, on the other hand, is dealing with meningitis - an illness that caused him to miss one match last year, and sent him to the hospital this past Sunday in Kansas City after receiving shots in Montreal before Sporting KC's contest versus the Impact. Nielsen sent out a tweet to his Twitter followers Wednesday saying, "Some may have heard already. Yes, I was in hospital suffering meningitis. Now I'm home recreating. I'll be back in business be4 you know it."

While Nielsen is set to return to action Saturday, he will begin to receive a lifelong medication regimen once his current treatment cycle is completed, and will be watched closely by team personnel in case of any reoccurrence.

Sporting KC takes on Eastern Conference foe New York Red Bulls on Saturday at Sporting Park at 5:30 CDT. The match will be broadcasted live on NBC Sports.

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