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Cristman ready to return to United fold

After more than six weeks on the shelf, DC striker is back

WASHINGTON – Injuries, suspensions and other factors have given D.C. United’s gameday roster the look of a carousel recently, with turnover and flux the norm rather than the exception.

Coach Ben Olsen’s numbers have improved this week. But the pattern continues as Jaime Moreno will miss Saturday’s game in Chicago due to his strange red card against San Jose. With the Bolivian legend out, Adam Cristman hopes to step in for his first match action in more than six weeks.

Cristman’s 2010 injury woes are indicative of the team’s as a whole. The target striker traveled to Germany for sports-hernia surgery in July, only to fall victim to a knee problem barely a month later. As it turns out, he’d been carrying damage to his meniscus for some time and surgery was necessary.

“I had surgery on it in college,” he explained. “I had a small meniscus problem and they trimmed it, and I never had a problem with it since. Then just in practice four weeks ago, when I hurt it, I just felt something. I got it checked out, had a tear in it and took care of it.

“I’m sure at the end, if you scan everybody’s body, we’ve all got a handful of things wrong with us but it’s just a matter of them being symptomatic or not,” he added.

Now, in the final stages of recovery from the resulting lateral menisectomy operation, Cristman’s eager to get back on the field and make something of the season’s final days.

“I’m getting there,” he said after a recent United training session. “It feels good just to be out running around.

“I think the team’s grown a bit since I’ve been out,” he added, “and now for me to rejoin is being a big part of that growth and helping the team continue to learn together and develop some of our younger players.”

Olsen had strongly hoped to get Cristman in uniform for last week’s match, but game day arrived a bit too soon for his fellow University of Virginia product. The hard-working striker could provide a useful option up top for Saturday’s meeting with the Fire, especially given the typically physical nature of the rivalry.

“The lungs are pretty good, still,” Cristman said. “Obviously you lose some fitness when you’re not playing games. I wouldn’t expect being 90 minutes match-fit, but certainly, in general, I’m sure I could get 60 in and push it.”