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Fabian Espindola out 10 to 14 days, as Nick DeLeon faces race to be fit for NYCFC game

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Espindola re-injured his left knee in a collision with a teammate during practice last Friday

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

As D.C. United took to the practice field on Tuesday ahead of Thursday's game against New York City Football Club, Fabian Espindola and Nick DeLeon were both absent, though the prognosis for both was positive.

Espindola, who missed the Montreal trip after picking up an injury in training last Friday, is due to miss 10-14 days with a left knee sprain, according to United. It's the same knee that Espindola injured earlier this season against the Columbus Crew, but the injury is a dodged bullet for manager Ben Olsen.

"When a guy goes down and then leaves training with knee stuff, and it comes back that it's probably going to be a few weeks, it's good news," Olsen told reporters on Tuesday.

That 10-14 day timetable means that Espindola will miss the trip to New York City for the team's first game against NYCFC, as well as a trip to Panama to face Arabe Unido for the Black-and-Red's opening Champions League game. San Jose Earthquakes then visit next Saturday, before another midweek CCL game, ahead of the showdown with the New York Red Bulls on August 30, when Espindola should be fully fit to play.

DeLeon's absence on Tuesday was more of a precaution, after he was withdrawn at halftime in the victory over the Impact. Olsen said the plan was for DeLeon to play a maximum of 60 minutes, but that the timing was right to pull him at half.

"We'll make a decision on [DeLeon] tomorrow, see if he's able to play a role in this [game]," Olsen said. "He got out in time, but we've been pushing some guys, and it's that point in the season where sometimes guys get a little worn down. So we got to be smart."

Otherwise, Olsen has a full complement of players to pick from. with the game against NYCFC on the horizon. Against Montreal, United saw the returns of Bill Hamid, Sean Franklin, and Chris Pontius, who all missed more than a month with various injuries.

"Everyone got through that [game], got some good minutes. You can tell [Pontius] has a ways to go fitness wise," said Olsen. "But you can't mimic those ten minutes he got in Montreal. So it was important [for him] to get those, and to get [Franklin] back in the mix."

Michael Farfan, who has missed 13 games since he left the May 17 game against the New England Revolution, and Markus Halsti, who missed the Philadelphia Union and Real Salt Lake games, are both fully participating in practice, and are ready to be called up.

"Farfan has been in full training for two and a half weeks. I would consider him being part of this game, for the first time [since his injury]," Olsen said. "Halsti is good to go, he was ready for the weekend in Montreal. He had only had a few days of training, but he's had a full week with no set backs."