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Jordan Morris vows to be a ‘different player’ when he returns

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The Sounders forward says the work he’s put in to recover from ACL surgery has made him mentally stronger.

The timeline for Jordan Morris’ return remains very much unknown, but he does appear to be nearing the home stretch. On Friday, Morris did ball drills with teammates for the first time since his injury in February and head coach Brian Schmetzer continued to at least leave the door open for the forward to return in time for the playoffs.

At the same, the Sounders released the second installment of their series documenting Morris’ journey of recovery.

This episode focuses on the recovery process and how difficult it can be both mentally and physically.

“Part of the rehab at the beginning was learning how to walk normal, for my gait to be normal,” Morris said. “It was frustrating because that’s not even close to playing. I’m learning how to walk again and I have to get through this whole process of jogging, cutting, getting on the field.

“I knew that working on these little things can be mentally draining, but the people I’ve talked to and what I told myself is you have to celebrate the little victories. You can’t look nine, 10 months ahead and have that be your milestone. You look three weeks ahead or whatever.”

If there’s a silver lining to all of this, Sounders team doctor — and Morris’ father — Dr. Michael Morris noted that players often come away with a greater appreciation for the grind of a normal season. He also noted that rehabbing is a lot harder than playing.

“Guys who are playing have days where they have off, days where they train hard and others where they don’t train as hard, but for Jordan it’s train hard everyday,” he said.

Morris seems to have taken that to heart, and is even convinced that he’ll come out of this a better player.

“It’s a grind, but it’s something I love to do and [I’m] working to get better,” he said. “Physically it’s very difficult, it’s probably the hardest I’ve worked in my life to get better, but it’s something that I can handle and when I come back I need to reprove myself.

“I have this new attitude, this new energy, this fire inside of me that I have haven’t felt in a really long time. When I step back onto the field, I’m going to be a different player, I’m going to prove myself to the fans again.”