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Inter Miami’s Reyes “ready” to return vs. Orlando City after injury layoff

Andres Reyes is not a big fan of the fictitious superheroes that are all the rave these days, but he might just look like one the next time he steps on the field for Inter Miami and that might be as soon as this weekend.

It has been nearly a month since Reyes last played for Inter Miami, but he is closing in on his return to action albeit while having to wear a protective mask. The young centerback suffered a facial injury in the expansion side’s 3-0 defeat to the Philadelphia Union back on Sept. 27, and has missed the last five matches as a result.

Reyes is, however, nearly back to 100 percent again and raring to go after having surgery to correct the issue.

“With me we waited to see if they would operate on me or not because it was a fracture,” Reyes told SBI in Spanish on Wednesday. “A week passed and it proved better to take the decision to have the surgery because I didn’t feel better or much improvements. The operation would allow my bone to be repaired, and the pain and swelling and all that would pass.

“We took the decision to have surgery.”

Some rest and recovery followed for the 21-year-old Colombian, but Reyes stated that he has gradually made his way back onto the practice field. He added that he is back in team sessions and hoping to play in this Saturday’s crucial Sunshine Clasico showdown vs. rival Orlando City in the first game at Inter Miami CF Stadium that will welcome several thousand fans to attend.

“Little by little I have been working with the team,” said Reyes. “I am just waiting for the weekend to see if the coach is going to count on me. If not, I’ll wait for him to take that decision, but I’m ready and prepared.”

Inter Miami head coach Diego Alonso had said in recent weeks that he hoped to be able to count on Reyes in this upcoming clash with Orlando City, which is pivotal to the South Florida side’s expansion hopes. Inter Miami currently is two points short of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and only has four games left in the season to secure a postseason berth.

It is unclear right now if Reyes will be able to contribute in the first of those on Saturday or if he needs a little more time to regain fitness and sharpness after the injury layoff. That said, it is clear Alonso rates the youth international — as evidenced by Reyes’ 11 starts to date.

“We have a lot of expectations of him and the future he can have as a player,” said Alonso in Spanish back in September. “He is one of the sporting bets we’ve made as a club, but we also know he is young and that he will at times have ups and downs. We will have to indoctrinate him, help him, protect him, and teach him to surpass the good and bad moments so that he can gain consistency over time and become a referrer over time.

“We are convinced he will be a senior Colombian national team player and that he will be playing at the highest level.”

In order to do that, Reyes will have to first get back to playing at the club level. He hopes to be doing that soon now that he is close to full health again, even if it means wearing one of those protective face masks.

“On the team they are calling me Batman,” said Reyes. “But I’m not a big fan of superheroes because they’re fictional.”

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