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Jose Martinez returning; Andre Blake on schedule for playoff return

Martinez returned to full team training on Friday after clearing Covid-19 protocols

SOCCER: OCT 24 MLS - Toronto FC at Philadelphia Union Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Philadelphia Union midfielder Jose Martinez cleared the final hurdle in his Covid-19 recovery Friday to return to full team training and will be available for selection for Sunday’s Decision Day game against the New England Revolution.

Martinez missed the Union’s last two games after testing positive for Covid-19. Prior to that he missed four straight games because of international duty and a league-required quarantine period.

He’s played just one game — against Toronto FC on October 24 — since leaving for international duty in early October. He didn’t feature for Venezuela in either of their World Cup qualifiers and is not on the roster for their qualifiers Nov. 13 and 17.

With Martinez back, the Union will be close to full strength on Sunday with the exception of Andre Blake, who had surgery Monday on his hand after suffering a fracture against the Chicago Fire. Matthew Real is also still recovering from injury.

Head coach Jim Curtin said Thursday that Blake is still on schedule to return for the playoffs as long as the recovery goes as expected. The surgery, Curtin said, should limit his recovery time to about 2 and a half weeks.

The first round of the playoffs (after the play-in round) is Nov. 21, 22 and 24.