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Cleared Twellman is using his head

FOXBOROUGH -- Leading scorer Taylor Twellman, who has missed nearly a month because of head injuries, has been cleared to play for the Revolution against Colorado Thursday.

Twellman, who suffered broken cheekbones, a broken nose, and a Grade 2 concussion in the 29th minute of a 2-1 overtime loss to Los Angeles Aug. 23, had not attempted to strike the ball with his head again until yesterday.

"We'll see how it feels [this] morning, but I think everything is fine," Twellman said. "It's been four weeks since the concussion, so that is no problem. I will have to have surgery at the end of year."

The swelling has subsided, but Twellman will have cosmetic surgery on his nose. It was the second time this year Twellman sustained a concussion in a clash with Galaxy defender Danny Califf.

"He lost me for a split-second and turned to try to play the ball," Twellman said. "I've now gotten two concussions and a broken nose against him. Obviously, it's very physical. We were roommates, we played together [at the University of Maryland], with the [US] Under-17 and Under-20 teams, and now with the national team. No hard feelings, it's just very competitive when we play."

Twellman does not expect to receive much sympathy from opponents.

"I think it's going to become even more physical," Twellman said. "You saw the way Pepe [Jose Cancela] got hacked down at the end of the game Saturday."

The Revolution defeated the MetroStars, 2-1, Saturday, their second victory in three games since Twellman's injury. Chris Brown scored three times in a 5-1 victory over Chicago and MLS Player of the Week Pat Noonan converted all three goals in the last two games. All three strikers, plus Dario Fabbro, could be ready Thursday.

"It's a great problem to have," Revolution coach Steve Nicol said. "We will do what suits the team best. A lot comes into it -- instinct, what combination is best, what's best for the team."

Nicol remains concerned about Twellman.

"Defenders know that if they give him space he will hurt them," said Nicol, a former player of the year in England as a Liverpool defender. "But defending is not about kicking. It's about challenging and winning the ball. If you can't win the ball, you steer them where you want them to go. If I am playing against a dangerous player and the referee let's me treat him roughly, I am more likely to keep doing it unless the referee punishes me."

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