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Rose Lavelle injury: OL Reign star ‘progressing’ ahead of NWSL playoffs

Rose Lavelle warms up before OL Reign's final match of the 2023 regular season. (Daniel Bartel/USA TODAY Sports)

Rose Lavelle was available Sunday for OL Reign’s final regular-season game – but only if the team really needed her.

The 28-year-old midfielder continues to build back from a leg injury she has been nursing since before the 2023 World Cup. She played in just four regular-season matches for OL Reign in 2023.

While Lavelle played near full minutes in two matches late in the season, on Aug. 27 and Sept. 3, before that she had not played for the club since April 1. She picked up what was described as “a little knock” during a friendly for the U.S. women’s national team in April, and she has been dealing with the injury since then.

“Rose was sort of there if we desperately needed her to be there, and thankfully we didn’t,” OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey said after Sunday’s 3-0 win. “I know she was still running (on the field) after the game so that we can keep her ticking over in preparation for Friday.”

OL Reign will host Angel City FC in the first round of the postseason at 10 p.m. ET Friday. The match will be streamed on Paramount Plus.

Harvey also noted that Lavelle was not going to see the field Sunday unless the team absolutely needed her in the must-win match. But a brace from Megan Rapinoe helped seal the victory over the Chicago Red Stars and the Reign’s spot in the playoffs.

Sofia Huerta, who exited the USWNT’s September training camp with a hamstring injury, did play in Sunday’s game, subbing on for the final 21 minutes.

“We always knew that if we were gonna get Rose on the field tonight, it was going to be a last-ditch effort. You know, we need to score or whatever,” Harvey said. “They’re both progressing well. I think when you come in, back off the injuries that they’ve got and it’s this time of the season, you maybe go about things differently than you would if you were in the middle of it and you might (have), you know, 12 games to go.”