SANTA CLARA -- New Earthquakes forward Marcus Tracy said Monday he might be ready to play within a few weeks, a development that could be a boost to Major League Soccer's most potent team.
"I'm not game fit but in terms of my knees everything is 100 percent at this point," said Tracy, the 2008 college player of the year from Wake Forest.
Speaking after his first practice in San Jose the striker added, "We just have to manage the progression of training to prevent any type of muscle strain."
Tracy, 25, hasn't played competitively in three years while suffering from tendinitis. He underwent two patellar tendon surgeries in 2010 and had microfracture surgery on his right knee last November.
"At this point I feel better physically than I did since my sophomore year of Wake Forest when I started to have some tendinitis issues," he said. "It was pretty shocking to break down like I did. We just weren't able to manage injuries. It was too debilitating to go on -- no one ever expects that to happen."
The Earthquakes won the rights to the forward from the Danish Superliga club Aalborg BK in a weighted lottery last week against seven other MLS teams. San Jose got the player despite having a 4.6 percent chance of winning.
San Jose (17-6-5), which plays host to the Portland Timbers on Wednesday night at Buck Shaw Stadium, is focusing on trying to win the Western Conference and finish with the best regular-season record. Tracy wouldbe a luxury for the playoffs at this point.
The striker isn't predicting how long it will take him to contribute again but he is determined to make an impact.
"If I didn't feel I get back to that level again, I wouldn't have myself through what I went through," Tracy said. "I'm coming back not with the intent of being able to say I can play soccer again but to compete at the highest level."
Tracy, who joins former Wake Forest teammates Sam Cronin and Ike Opara, hopes to add another wrinkle to the Quakes' high-powered offense led by Chris Wondolowski, Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart.
"I like to come back and get the ball but I can also run through," he said. "I'm more of a slasher and creator."