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April 25, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Sigi Schmid’s Q&A transcript regarding Zakuani’s injury

schmid mug.jpgHere’s a full transcript of the conversation Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid had with the media this afternoon. As you might expect, it primarily focused on the aftermath of the injury to midfielder Steve Zakuani.

* * *

(How is the team doing and where do you go from here?) “Obviously it’s a big blow to our team. It changes the way we’ve got to play in the future. He was a big part of our team and had a big impact, but for us we have to move forward. That’s what our task is now and our duty. We have to make sure we get it together for the next game. We got to continue to work hard and we certainly wish Steve all the best. I know he wants us to do same, just move forward.”

(Has there been any communication with Steve yet?) “I know Steve got on his email so I’m sure he got back to some people and stuff. I know he and I talked. I was there all of Saturday morning and have been keeping in touch with (head athletic trainer) Randy Noteboom, who is still there. I sent Steve an email or two and he responded to those as well. It’s good, something to keep his mind busy as well.”

(Too early for a timeline on his recovery and return?) “Yeah, it’s too early. There’s no timeline we can really establish and this point. He’s still in Denver. When he’ll come back from Denver we’re still unsure of. We’ll just take it one step at a time as we move forward.”

(Is it inappropriate to say done for the season?) “It really all depends on what happens in the next two to three weeks. Again, when you talk to doctors, one time it’ll be ‘highly unlikely’ and also one of the doctors said, ‘I think he can maybe play by the end of the season.’ It all depends on how things go on the recovery and everyone’s different. Some people recover quicker than others and for some it goes faster than others, it depends on the uniqueness of the injury.”

(What was done in surgery?) “He had a broken fibula and a broken tibia. For the tibia what they do when it’s a serious injury sometimes is put a rod or nail in there, so that’s what they’ve had to do for that. The fibula should heal by itself; I think it wasn’t displaced. So that’s the main thing. It’s probably similar to the injury Aaron Ramsey suffered last year for Arsenal on the tackle from Shawcross. It’s similar to that and what Eduardo suffered as well for Arsenal — although it’s higher up on the shin. That’s good because if it’s lower to the ankle that just provides another complication.”

(Have you seen injuries like this before?) “When I was at UCLA we actually had a player from up here in Federal Way by the name of Robbie LaBelle. Robbie, just before he came to UCLA, broke both his tibia and fibula playing with the under-20s, so he went through that recovery and came back and played for us. I was at the Rose Bowl when Marcelo Balboa broke Dan Calichman’s leg. I saw that injury, but wasn’t involved in that rehab. It’s similar to rehabbing from an ACL or something like that. You just got to take it slow.”

(You mentioned after the game you didn’t want to see a replay? Have you in three days since and has it changed your opinion of the tackle?) “My wife forced me to look at a replay. I’ve only seen it one time, but like I said, I heard it there. I didn’t necessarily want to see it again. I knew what the ramifications of it were. Now it’s in the hands of the league as to what they’re going to do and what kind of stand they’re going to take.”

(Does anyone with the team get to talk to MLS about what you think should be done?) “No. They have an apparatus set up to deal with that in terms of their disciplinary committee that looks at those sorts of things. I have my own feelings but those are my feelings.”

(Do they or should they judge on just the tackle or is it worse if it appears to be retaliation?) “Again, it’s tough to determine what somebody’s thinking. You’re not in his head. I’m not speaking as a coach right now, but I know as a player if somebody comes into you and they’re fighting hard for the ball and going for the ball and mistimed the tackle, to me that’s one thing. If it’s a situation where they’re angry or upset about something so now they’re going, ‘Now’s my chance to get even,’ I think that’s another thing. Obviously that’s something I think the committee has to look at. They have to judge that as best as they can, because for me personally I think there is a difference. We just had Servando Carrasco suspended and, as I said at the time, rightfully so. But that was a ball where he was late — he mistimed the tackle. He was late and it ended up being a bad tackle, but it wasn’t a tackle that was done out of spite or revenge or anything like that. If you can, I think you have to look at that because I do think that’s makes a difference. And you have to look at somebody’s history.”

(Who are some of the players that could replace him?) “There are a lot of different options to look at. Certainly Fernandez, who came into the match and played in the wide position. Friberg played there when Steve couldn’t play in the game in New York. That’s another possibility. Lamar Neagle has done well in the reserve games; he’s somebody else who can play wide. Michael Tetteh is probably a better wide midfielder than he is a left back. He’s a possibility. Miguel Montano is somebody who can play there and needs to be sharper at practice on a daily basis to get himself in there. Those are our guys and we can always alter a little bit the way we play.”

(Do you look at adding someone?) “We really can’t because we’re up against the cap and you don’t get any cap relief when you get an injury like that, which is something I think the league needs to look at too. If a guy does his ACL — and I can understand when a guy gets injured in practice — but if it’s this kind of a situation they should look at the possibility that maybe there’s cap relief. Based upon there not really being any cap relief we’re limited to what we can do. We’re really trying to replace a player that makes ‘X’ amount of money with a minimum-salary player. You’re not going to get the same quality.”

(How does losing his speed change the dynamic of the offense?) “Speed is a big asset, and what you want to do in soccer is get behind the defense, you want to turn the defense and stretch the defense. Steve is one of our main weapons in terms of stretching a defense and turning the defense. It puts a little more emphasis on other players doing that, on O’Brian White, can he stretch the defense? Can Fredy Montero maybe stretch the defense a little more? Can somebody step in on the wide channel and give us some of the same? Because no matter how we change we still have to have that quality on the field to stretch the defense.”

(What was today like, having to get back into training without Zakuani?) “It was good. Again, like we said, it’s the same as halftime. We try not to dwell on it. We’re going to give them an update as to what’s going on before we have our film session this afternoon. We just tried to get focused on the work at hand and not get distracted by thinking about it too much.”

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