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April 22, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Steve Zakuani: “A year ago was obviously the roughest day of my life, but I’m here, I’m standing, so I’m happy.”

zakuani mug 2012.jpgSunday marks the one-year anniversary of Steve Zakuani’s devastating leg injury suffered on tackle by Colorado midfielder Brian Mullan. Zakuani chatted with reporters about that and more today after training; here is some of that conversation:

* * *

(How do you feel about where you are a year later?) “I’m happy to an extent, but at the same time I have inside me the desire to get back to my full level. … It is good progress. I’m happy. A year ago was obviously the roughest day of my life, but I’m here, I’m standing, so I’m happy. I still think I have a lot of work to do, a lot of pushing to do. It’s things like this that people really don’t see — what goes on behind. There’s a lot of work. There’s a lot of work on this leg still to be done because it was a really horrific injury. To get back to a high level is not easy, and I’m trying to do that.”

(Did you have any thoughts on what Brian Mullan said after last week’s game?) “I didn’t really see it. I was at the game, obviously, and I think the fans handled it well. They handled it well and I think he handed it well, too. I didn’t really see (what he said). People have told me a couple of things, coach and stuff, but I think he’s been fine. I’ve never had an issue with him. I think the first thing he said after the injury was not the best thing to say, but since then it’s been fine. I’ve spoken with him before. I wish him the best and everything. Like I’ve said, I don’t think he’s that kind of player. I’ve played against him many times before in the past and there was no history, there was nothing there. It was just a one-off incident. It was just a one-off incident that brought us together at that time and we’re tied together forever because of that. But I wish him the best. I think he handled it well that day. I can’t imagine what it was like to be coming back here and knowing what he’d face. I think he handled it well. I always know I have (the fans’) support. They showed me that again and it means a lot to me. … The final thing will be me and him coming face to face. So we’re getting closer to having complete closure for everybody involved, so that’s a good thing, as well.”

(So you were able to meet in person after the game?) “I got a couple messages from their people. We kind of were going back and forth, but it never got arranged. I was watching the game up there in the suite, they were on the pitch and our paths just never crossed. I know he spoke to Randy (Noteboom), our trainer, and was really apologetic again. I think that’s what I would expect from him if I got to speak. I’m never against it. I’ll see him soon. I’m never against it. I think it’s something that has to happen. I think it’ll have to be a planned meeting, but it will happen. It’s fine. I have friends on that team. Tyrone (Marshall) and these guys that you talk to, like Omar (Cummings). I send messages to them and say it’s fine, there’s nothing there. I don’t really think about. There’s nothing to think about. The only thing I’m concerned with is getting back and playing. … That’s what my injury means to me right now. It’s no longer about what happened but trying to get back on the pitch. That’s where my focus is really.”

(On getting some support from Landon Donovan and David Beckham…) “It means a lot sometimes when you have that from those kind of players because it does motivate me. I used to enjoy playing against L.A. and I used to enjoy playing against those kind of players and challenging myself. I’m hoping to get back there one day.”

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