David Beckham has recovered from an ACL injury and could play in Galaxy game on Saturday

David Beckham participates in his first practice since returning to the Los Angeles Galaxy MLS football team, at the Galaxy Training Center at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. On Wednesday August 11, 2010.

David Beckham is eligible to play in the Los Angeles Galaxy’s home game against Columbus on Saturday after being out for nearly six months with an Achilles tendon injury.

Beckham tore his left tendon on March 14 while playing on loan with AC Milan, undergoing surgery two days later on an injury that kept him out of the World Cup.

After leading Los Angeles to the MLS Cup final last November, Beckham has not played this season for the Galaxy, which still lead the Western Conference with 44 points and field US internationals Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle.

“Not playing for six months is tough,” Beckham said after a practice session at Carson. “This is the first time this has happened to me. I had injuries, but nothing kept me in for this long. It made me realize how much I love the game, and I am not ready to finish. “

Beckham, 35, believes he could play “a few more years”, growing more enthusiastic about the Galaxy’s playoff push and his slim possibility of ever returning to the England national team.

Beckham is less interested in replaying for a European club. After several years of almost uninterrupted play, Beckham has indicated he would likely turn down a loan to AC Milan or another team in favor of a more relaxing winter.

“I need it – my body needs it,” Beckham said. “I’ve been hitting pretty hard the last few years, and this injury is because of that, so I think now is the time for me to take a look at myself and my fitness.… Three months in the Seychelles would be adorable, but I have three boys who go to school, so that can’t happen. “

Beckham was not really inactive during his recovery. After traveling with the England national team to South Africa, Beckham returned to train with the Galaxy on August 10, gradually increasing his training regimen over the past four weeks.

He played 45 minutes in a practice match on Wednesday, saying he felt exhausted early on before regaining a second wind midway through.

“I’m ready, to be honest,” Beckham said. “I’ve worked hard with rehab and I’m trying to get some strength back in my legs.… I think I can play part of the game (Saturday). Obviously, without playing for six months, you have to be careful a few. minutes at a time. If I can play 10, 15, 20 minutes, I hope I can do it. “

Arena is more cautious, noting that Beckham is still a week away from the expected six-month recovery time after such a serious injury. The Galaxy braintrust has not decided whether Beckham will play against Columbus.

“I think he’s ahead of schedule,” Arena said. “Our original goal was to get him back on the pitch on October 1. We think that could be increased. Decision making should be based on David being on the pitch when he’s ready to play and he’s on the pitch. isn’t likely to get hurt, and that has to be in the best interest of our team as well, but that comes close.… He’s a guy who likes to defy the odds. “

Beckham has seven goals and 15 assists in 41 career regular-season games with Los Angeles. He only played 11 games for the Galaxy last year after spending the first half of the season with AC Milan.

Although focused on Los Angeles’ remaining season, Beckham has not canceled the opportunity to replay for his country. England manager Fabio Capello was widely criticized last month for saying Beckham was too old to play for the national side again, forcing Capello to back down.

Beckham has closely followed England’s performances in victories against Switzerland and Bulgaria in the Euro 2012 qualifiers. He is also on good terms with Capello, speaking to the manager by phone shortly before the English team does meet to prepare for qualifying.

“I’ve always had a good relationship with Fabio, and that hasn’t changed,” Beckham said. “He’s the England manager, and he has to look to the future, look to some great and talented young players. These players have to be lucky, and they will be. But obviously the manager is aware that ‘there must be some old heads in there, and some experience.

“If I’m a part of this then great, but like I said my main goal right now is to get back in shape and play again.”

VIDEO: Beckham’s first day of training (August 11)

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