Positive COVID test, fitness may keep Josef Martinez sidelined

051821 Atlanta: Atlanta United striker Josef Martinez is all smiles while watching the Atlanta Braves play the New York Mets in a MLB baseball game on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, in Atlanta.     “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

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051821 Atlanta: Atlanta United striker Josef Martinez is all smiles while watching the Atlanta Braves play the New York Mets in a MLB baseball game on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, in Atlanta. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Atlanta United striker Josef Martinez is training by himself not because of COVID-19 protocols, but because he is trying to regain his fitness, Atlanta United president Darren Eales said Wednesday.

Though vaccinated against COVID, Martinez tested positive while with the Venezuelan men’s national team competing in the Copa America in Brazil. As a result, Martinez spent at least two weeks in a hotel room in which he couldn’t work on his fitness. Because Martinez also is still recovering from the knee injury sustained last year, the team doesn’t want to push him too quickly.

Eales said he isn’t sure if Martinez will be available for Thursday’s game at Nashville. He said he thinks it’s more likely that Martinez will return for the July 17 game against New England at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Martinez has two goals in seven appearances this season. Atlanta United has been shut out in its past three games and is winless in its past six.