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The curious case of Victor Rodriguez’s injury woes

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Sounders midfielder looks likely to miss another game after reaggravating a hamstring injury.

Kayla Mehring / Sounder at Heart

TUKWILA, Wash. — During their six-game winning streak, the Seattle Sounders have managed to stay mostly healthy. One notable exception has been Victor Rodriguez.

The Sounders midfielder has only been able to start one game during this streak and he had to come out before halftime with a hamstring injury. Now, after missing three matches and then coming off the bench in the last two, he’s again dealing with an injury. Rodriguez was limited to work on the side during Friday’s training session and is questionable to be able to play in Sunday’s match against the Portland Timbers.

“He’s got a little reaggravation of his hamstring,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said. “We’re working on it. We’ll see what we can get out of him. Obviously a big game, but we don’t want to put any undo pressure on him. If he can make it, he’ll be involved. If he can’t, we’ll see him next week in training.”

This is just the latest in what seems like an never ending string of injuries for the 29-year-old. He lost most of his offseason due to a lingering knee injury. Then, just as it looked like he was returning to health near the start of the regular season, he suffered a setback and eventually had an arthroscopic procedure in May. He would eventually miss the first 10 matches of the season. Rodriguez returned to health long enough to make eight consecutive starts before straining his hamstring on July 21.

In the Sounders’ most recent win, Rodriguez played 30 minutes and looked particularly strong. He had two shots and two key passes — both to Raúl Rudíaz — and was a bit unlucky not to have at least one assist. It was not immediately clear if he tweaked his hamstring in the game or during training.

What’s particularly frustrating about all of this is that Rodriguez came to the Sounders without much history of injury during seven seasons in Spain, where he appeared in roughly 63 percent of his teams’ total available minutes. The only time he had anything like a significant injury was late in the 2015-16 season, when he missed three weeks with a thigh muscle strain, and then early in the 2016-17 season when he missed two weeks with a hamstring injury.

When he’s been healthy, he’s been productive. Over parts of two seasons and one postseason with Seattle, Rodriguez has four goals and five assists in a little under 1,400 minutes. He’s averaging .58 goals and assists per 90 minutes. The only midfielders to post better numbers with Seattle are Nicolas Lodeiro (.69) and Mauro Rosales (.66).

“He’s super motivated,” Schmetzer said. “That’s the easy part. He wants to play, we want him to play, he’s a pro.

“But we’ll have him back, I have confidence in him.”