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Not exactly what the Red Bulls need, but Juan Agudelo returns to practice

Vancouver Whitecaps FC v New York Red Bulls

HARRISON, NJ - SEPTEMBER 10: Juan Agudelo #17 of the New York Red Bulls plays the ball during warmups prior to the start of the game against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Red Bull Arena on September 10, 2011 in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images for the New York Red Bulls)

Andy Marlin

Juan Agudelo is back on the New York Red Bulls training field.

While it’s always great news when any athlete returns from injury, especially one of such glowing promise as Agudelo, this falls as cold comfort at some level for supporters around the Harrison grounds.

Agudelo, injured last month during U.S. Olympic qualifying efforts, certainly won’t hurt anything as he returns slowly to available status. On the other hand, offense is hardly what Hans Backe’s team needs. Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper, with 15 goals between them, will be hard to dislodge. (Although Agudelo as a change-up off the bench sure sounds delightful.)

“It felt good,” the young U.S. international told reporters after Thursday’s practice. “Felt like the Avatar movie when the guy runs as an avatar.”

That proves two things: 1) He’s feeling quite peppy, joking with reporters and such, a positive sign, and; 2) He’s clearly had time to watch a lot of movies during recovery.

The real issue, of course, is a defense that was shredded like so much Wisconsin cheddar last weekend at RFK. What the Red Bulls really need is for Wilman Conde to get healthy, lickety-split.

The team reported that Conde jogged around the field Thursday, still three to four weeks from his return.