Tuesday’s paper will have a shortish story on the Crew beginning U.S. Open Cup play later that evening, but as usual there were things that did not make the final cut.
First off, Julius James was active with what looked like the first-team unit in today’s light training session at the team’s training facility in Obetz. When I spoke with him afterward, James used the word “excited” a half-dozen times during the three-plus minutes in which we spoke. The guy has the friendliest demeanor on the team and you can’t help but share his enthusiasm for being on the field once you engage him in conversation.
“It’s such a relief,” he said. “I’m so grateful to God for my health and strength back. I’ve been training pretty hard and doing strength and fitness. The trainers had me going and kept me occupied. Nothing beats playing, but (Tuesday) I have the opportunity to step back in and do what I love.”
After starting in 31 games last season, James underwent shoulder surgery and was projected to miss the first few weeks of the season. He was pronounced fully recovered from the procedure at the beginning of April, only to suffer a collapsed lung that sent him back to the hospital.
Less than two weeks later, however, James was back doing limited work as he regained his fitness.
“They were paying attention to me,” he said. “I couldn’t get my heart rate up too high and stuff like that. I’ve been doing fitness for quite some time.”
James said he is not at much risk of suffering another collapsed lung.
“In my whole lifetime there’s a 15 percent chance, so that’s not bad at all,” he said. “That was just a freak thing and there’s no explanation. There’s nothing I could do to prevent it. It just happens.”
However, head coach Robert Warzycha was coy when noncommittal when asked if James will play against the Dayton Dutch Lions.
“I’m not sure if he’s ready to go,” he said. “His fitness is still coming.”
Also on what looked to be the first unit was rookie forward Ethan Finlay, who has not seen game action since suffering a concussion May 12 against FC Dallas.