05/22/2015 05:44 EDT | Updated 05/22/2016 05:59 EDT

Toronto goalie on outside looking in as he waits for painful foot injury to heal

TORONTO - As Toronto FC practice wound down Friday, Joe Bendik watched from just inside the training centre doors.

TFC's No 1 goalkeeper has been sidelined since April 26 when he injured his left foot early in a 2-0 win in Orlando.

"I just went to sprint from a standstill, and ended up straining my plantar fascia," he said. "I've learned that it's not a very common injury and that it takes a bit of time to heal."

Five games and counting. Backup Chris Konopka, named to the MLS team of the week after a 1-1 tie in New England on the weekend, is expected to start again Saturday as Toronto hosts the Portland Timbers.

Bendik's injury, a strain turned tear, is unusual. Plantar fasciitis is a more common foot injury, involving inflammation and swelling of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue running underneath the sole of the foot.

Bendik has to basically wait until the foot recovers from the tear. It's not pleasant, although he reports progress.

"It's painful, but I can walk," he said. "Now it's a lot better."

At its worst, the pain was "unbearable." He spent a week after the Orlando game on crutches and in an air cast.

"It's the bottom of your foot. For every movement you make, you're using it."

He is not sure when he will be back, although coach Greg Vanney has said his No. 1 goalie is close.

"We've been talking it day by day since the moment it happened," Bendik said. "Because people say it can be 10 days to just whenever it heals .... Who knows? Maybe it's tomorrow, it's Wednesday, it's Saturday. We just have to figure that out."

The six-foot-three Bendik, an elite shot-stopper, has played 66 league games for Toronto over the last seasons. He has stayed healthy for the most part, apart from a few minor knocks common to his trade.

Now he is on the outside looking in.

The 26-year-old 'keeper took over as Toronto's No. 1 after Stefan Frei, now the starter in Seattle, was injured in the 2013 pre-season. He was shunted aside briefly in 2014 when Toronto signed veteran Julio Cesar but regained the starting job when the Brazilian left for the World Cup and did not return.

Vanney has praised Konopka's play, saying he will welcome the competition between the two when Bendik returns. Konopka, meanwhile, has paid tribute to Bendik's support and help.

Asked about his position on the depth chart when he returns, Bendik replied: "(That's) the million-dollar question, isn't it?

"Nothing for certain but like I say all the time, it's always a competition. You always need to bring your best game and that's what I intend to do."

No complaints from the stoic goalie. "We're a team," he said.

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