TORONTO — Perhaps it's a measure of Sebastian Giovinco's star power that he can make headlines even when he doesn't play.
The Toronto FC striker has been out since straining his quad in a 3-2 win over Minnesota on May 13. The club said at the time he was expected to miss three weeks.
But it appears Giovinco feels differently.
On Thursday, the Italian dynamo posted a picture of himself in action with the caption: "When you are ready but they don't want to listen."
Coach Greg Vanney said the team's medical team disagreed. But he didn't seem too fazed by Giovinco's latest act of pique.
"In fairness it's one of these things where he has trained this week, he has hit shots," Vanney, speaking after Toronto's 5-0 win over Columbus on Friday, said when asked about Giovinco's social media post. "He's done a lot of things that I think we as players feel like 'I'm ready to go.'
"What we have a team of doctors for is to inform us on whether there's a risk or not a risk associated with playing a player in a situation."
Vanney said he understood where Giovinco was coming from.
"He looked great in training, he looked like he was ready. The fear was that in an unpredictable environment like a game where you have fatigue because it's a long game — and the MRI still showed some form of an injury — so there is an inherent risk of being out there."
"I get it," he added. "When I was a player, I wanted to play."
Vanney did agree that such discussions were best kept behind closed doors, rather than debated via social media.
"I don't love the Instagram (posting) for sure, and that's a discussion for he and I and we'll move from there," he said.
Giovinco, named the league MVP in 2015, is no stranger to wearing his heart on his sleeve.
On April 21, when he was substituted with five minutes remaining after scoring two goals in a 3-1 win over Chicago, he slapped a stanchion in disgust as he headed directly to the dressing room.
Giovinco had showered and left the building by the time reporters were allowed in the dressing room.
Ironically Vanney said one of the reason he took Giovinco off that evening was so fans could show their appreciation for his performance.
Giovinco, 30, remains a difference-maker who can terrorize MLS defenders. The Atomic Ant has 45 goals and 32 assists in 70 regular-season appearances for Toronto.
He has six goals and one assist in nine games this season.
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