LA Galaxy: David Beckham Activated From Injured List

FROM ESPN LOS ANGELES/SCOTT FRENCH

CARSON, Calif. — It’s official. David Beckham can play Saturday.

Not that he will.

The Galaxy on Thursday activated the English superstar from the injured list, just in time for their Home Depot Center showdown against Eastern Conference leader Columbus, but his goal is merely to be one of 18 players chosen to dress for the match.

“I think I could possibly be on the bench …,” Beckham, who in March tore his left Achilles’ tendon while playing for AC Milan, said after training Thursday. “Obviously, it’s down to talking to the physio, the guys I’ve been working with and, obviously, the manager and deciding, but, fingers crossed, I’ll be eligible to be on the bench.”

Getting on the field is altogether something else. Beckham doesn’t have the match fitness to contribute a whole lot, especially in a match so important to the Galaxy (13-5-5) and Crew (13-5-5), who are atop the Supporters’ Shield standings. But he’d love the chance.

“I think I can play at some point of the game,” he said. “With not playing for six months, there has to be kind of a careful … a few minutes here and there. If I can play 10, 15, 30 minutes, then hopefully I can do that.”

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena isn’t so optimistic.

“I don’t think that’s likely,” he said. “All taking him off the disabled list simply means [is] he’s eligible [to play] in a game. You’re required to be on [the injured list] for six weeks, and we’re at the end of the six-week period.

“We fully expect him to be involved with our team for the month of September. All the decisions are going to be based day to day and week to week.”

The 35-year-old Beckham says he thinks he could play for “quite a few more years,” growing excited about the Galaxy’s playoff push and the still-faint possibility of returning to the English national team someday.

Beckham is less interested in playing again for a European club. After several years of nearly nonstop play, Beckham indicated he’s likely to decline a loan to AC Milan or another team in favor of a more relaxing winter.

“I need that — my body needs that,” Beckham said. “I’ve been hitting it quite hard for the last couple of years, and this injury is because of that, so I think now it’s time maybe for me to look at myself and look at my fitness.”

While focused on Los Angeles’ remaining season, Beckham hasn’t written off the possibility of playing again for his country. England manager Fabio Capello was widely criticized last month for saying Beckham was too old to play for the national team again, forcing Capello to backpedal.

“I’ve always had a good relationship with Fabio, and that’s not changed,” Beckham said. “He’s England manager, and he has to look to the future, look to some great, talented young players coming through. These players need to be given the chance, and they will be. But obviously the manager is aware that there needs to be some old heads in there, and some experience.

“If I’m part of that, then great, but like I said, my main objective right now is to get myself fit and playing again.”

Scott French writes the “Football Futbol Soccer” blog for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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