Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez now kicking a soccer ball

Forward Josef Martinez kicks Atlanta United’s first goal against Charlotte FC during an MLS game Sunday, March 13, 2020 in Atlanta. (Daniel Varnado/For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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Forward Josef Martinez kicks Atlanta United’s first goal against Charlotte FC during an MLS game Sunday, March 13, 2020 in Atlanta. (Daniel Varnado/For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Atlanta United manager Gonzalo Pineda shared some encouraging news Friday regarding two of the MLS team’s many injured players.

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First, Josef Martinez did some dribbling and shooting exercises Friday and could rejoin the team’s training in 2-3 weeks. It’s believed to be the first time that he has done work with the ball since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee April 6 in Pittsburgh. The team announced then that Martinez was expected to be out 6-8 weeks. The team is 1-3-1 since he underwent surgery.

“He’s a very important player for us,” Pineda said. “Obviously, seeing him is striking like that, many times the ball, is just good.”

Pineda said Martinez was going to do a double session Friday.

“He’s been responding very well after the surgery,” Pineda said. “So we are very happy with his progress.”

Martinez did some slow dribbling around cones before shooting drills, hitting the ball first with his left foot a few times and then with his right a few times.

Martinez has two goals in five appearances this season. He has a franchise-leading 91 goals in MLS in 113 appearances and 104 goals in 104 appearances across all competitions.

Ronaldo Cisneros, on loan from Chivas, has become the starting striker after Pineda also tried Jackson Conway and Dom Dwyer in that role. Cisneros has a team-leading four goals in four appearances.

Second, left fullback Andrew Gutman, who suffered a right shoulder injury in the second half of Wednesday’s 3-2 loss at Nashville in the U.S. Open Cup, didn’t suffer a fracture. Instead, Pineda said it was a joint injury. Gutman is week to week. Pineda said Gutman’s return depends upon his pain tolerance. Gutman, 25, has 10 appearances this season. Caleb Wiley, who also can play left back, is recovering from an injury, but was expected to do some field work Friday afternoon.

If neither player is available for Sunday’s game against New England, it’s likely that Ronald Hernandez will play the position. He switched from the right to the left Wednesday.

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Atlanta United’s 2022 MLS schedule

Feb. 27 Atlanta United 3, Sporting KC 1

March 5 Colorado 3, Atlanta United 0

March 13 Atlanta United 2, Charlotte 1

March 19 Atlanta United 3, Montreal 3

April 2 Atlanta United 1, D.C. United 0

April 10 Charlotte 1, Atlanta United 0

April 16 Atlanta United 0, Cincinnati 0

April 24 Miami 2, Atlanta United 1

April 30 Montreal 2, Atlanta United 1

May 7 Atlanta United 4, Chicago 1

May 15 vs. New England, 1:30 p.m., ESPN

May 21 at Nashville, 7:30 p.m. FOX

May 28 vs. Columbus Crew, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

June 19 vs Miami, 3 p.m., ESPN2

June 25 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

June 30 at New York Red Bulls, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 3 at NYCFC, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 9 vs. Austin, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 13 vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 17 vs. Orlando, 3 p.m., ABC

July 24 at L.A. Galaxy, 9:30 p.m., FS1

July 30 at Chicago, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

August 6 vs. Seattle, 3 p.m., ABC

August 13 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

August 17 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

August 21 at Columbus, 6 p.m., FS1

August 28 vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., UNIV

August 31 at Philadelphia, 7 p.m., FS1

Sept. 4 at Portland, 5:30 p.m., FOX

Sept. 10 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 14 at Orlando, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept 17 vs. Philadelphia, 3:30 p.m., UniMas

Oct. 1 at New England, 1 p.m., UniMas


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