Kenny Miller 'very optimistic' about returning to the lineup against San Jose

Striker Kenny Miller was back on the training pitch with his teammates Tuesday morning as Vancouver Whitecaps FC began preparations for Saturday’s encounter with the San Jose Earthquakes.

It was the Scottish international’s first full training session with the team since suffering a right adductor strain July 27 vs. Philadelphia. After sitting out Vancouver’s 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers this past weekend, both Miller and Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie said the 33-year-old forward should be available for selection against San Jose.

“There was no point in risking missing three or four weeks rather than just missing the game [against Portland],” Miller told reporters at UBC. “As much as I was disappointed, it was the sensible thing to do. And as I say, I’m very optimistic I’ll be fit for Saturday.”

Things aren’t looking as hopeful for centre back Brad Rusin, who suffered a right ankle sprain early against Portland. The 26-year-old defender underwent an MRI on Tuesday and results are expected at some point this week, but Rennie said “it doesn’t look too good.”

Meanwhile, centre backs Jay DeMerit (ruptured Achilles tendon) and Andy O’Brien (right hamstring strain) continue to train with the first team in full. DeMerit said he’s still taking things week-by-week, while O’Brien suggested he would be ready for Saturday if called upon.

“It’s good to be back of the lads and I’ve had no issues whatsoever,” he said. “I’m not holding back now because all the pain is gone and I’m not restricted in anyway.”

Darren Mattocks (right meniscus surgery) was also on the pitch Tuesday doing some light agility work with club physiotherapist Graeme Poole. The second-year striker underwent a successful partial meniscectomy to his right knee on July 25.