Houston Dynamo star Héctor Herrera could return vs. Austin FC

Hector Herrera 4

Houston Dynamo FC could receive a massive reinforcement for Saturday's Copa Tejas rivalry clash with Austin FC at Shell Energy Stadium (8:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).

Star midfielder Héctor Herrera has returned to training from his early-season injury and could make his 2024 debut for the Matchday 10 fixture.

"We're thrilled that he's back and how he plays into this and we bring him along over the next month, that's a conversation that we're having constantly within the coaching staff, within the powers that be and sports science department," head coach Ben Olsen said of Herrera. "He's an important player for the organization and for our team.

"We have to make sure we're doing it in a responsible way. But in the short term, having him out on the field this week is really, really exciting."

The Mexican star was elite in 2023, posting 4g/17a in 30 appearances while helping the club to a US Open Cup title and Western Conference Final run in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.

Olsen cautioned the captain and 2023 MLS Best XI selection will be on a minutes restriction to start. But his return undoubtedly provides a boost, with Houston sitting third in the Western Conference through seven matches (4W-2L-1D record; 13 points).

"He's not 90 minutes fit, I'll tell you that," Olsen said. "We have internal minutes restrictions on him for [Saturday], and as far as how long it takes him to get to where we can rely on him for a full game, that's going to be week-to-week and how this thing develops. It always doesn't just go [up]. He gets back and you add, add, add.

"When you're out this long, sometimes it goes [up and down]. But as long as we get it moving in the right direction – I have a good sports science crew and trainers that will make sure he's moving in the right direction at a safe but aggressive pace."