Reporters got a chance to catch up with goalkeeper Michael Gspurning for the first time since he suffered a sprained forearm in a July 13 road game at San Jose.
Gspurning practiced in full Monday, the first time since the injury, and gave updates on how he’s doing and more. As a note, coach Sigi Schmid had said that it’s too soon to tell if the 6-foot-5 Austrian will be back in lineup Saturday against Toronto FC.
Here is a transcript of our interview with Gspurning:
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(How does it feel to be back out?) “It’s a great feeling. It was the first real session for me today. It was a good hour and a half, and it’s feeling good. Of course, it needs time to get back in a rhythm. Also with the hand, we’re looking to make sure it’s stable and things like this, but it looks good. That’s the positive from the day. I’m very happy.”
(Was Marcus Hahnemann beating you back motivation to get healthy?) “No, I’m happy for Marcus and his shutout. Of course everybody is pushing each other, but it was definitely just up to my hand and not to Marcus if I’m here or not.”
(What exactly happened on the injury? Did Steven Lenhart actually step on you?) “He didn’t step on me. I caught the ball and then he obviously came a little late and kicked through. Maybe I should decide next time to punch it wide and it looks more spectacular and he wouldn’t have a chance to hurt me and I wouldn’t get injured. It’s over now. I caught the ball and then he swung through and twisted the arm.”
(Were you ever worried it was more serious?) “Yeah, because it was very painful. At halftime, I was not able to take off my glove it was so painful. We thing we thought was, ‘OK, it’s broken,’ but then the next day we went to the hospital. … It could’ve been worse and now I’m over this time and it’s good to be back on the pitch.”
(And you still played the rest of the first half with the injury?) “Yeah. I saw that it was very painful, and of course you don’t want to go out of the game, especially as a goalkeeper. I had two or three crosses and I caught them and it was so painful. I didn’t have really control or strength in the arm. Then, I think at Minute 32-33, I waved to (goalkeeper coach Tom Dutra) and he was coming. Then I said, ‘I can’t play anymore,’ and he asked me, ‘Can you make it through halftime?’ I said OK. It was better in this case for Andrew (Weber) — I’m always looking out for other goalkeepers, too. (laughs) … I know the situation and I wanted to push through to halftime because it’s easier for Andrew. Yeah, it was just funny that some of the players didn’t know I was injured and we played the last minutes quick, quick, quick and I was just shouting, ‘Take it easy!’ I think just the back line really knew what was going on. But this story is over now and I’m looking forward.”
(Do you feel confident mentally making the moves and being as aggressive as you need to be?) “That’s a good point, because especially with the wrist, you always have to keep in mind, ‘Can you trust it?’ You feel pain, is it now good pain? It is going away immediately? Or is it pain that’s getting worse and the injury is getting worse? Until now, every step back that I’ve made or every hit that has hurt, it goes away. It’s of course painful, but every time it happens and afterwards you feel OK, you feel more confident that it’s part of coming back with an injury.”
(Do you think Lenhart’s tackle was dirty?) “I think he could’ve stopped, but it’s OK now. I don’t blame him. We know what player he is: he’s always giving 100 percent for his team, he’s playing aggressively. That was also (what happened) with Dan Kennedy. … He is that player, and that’s OK for me. I was out three weeks and then he celebrates one week later, celebrating the goal, and it’s tough, but it’s part of the game. I’m over it and I don’t feel bad about him or anything.”
(What do you think about the Clint Dempsey signing?) “There are so many words about Clint Dempsey and I can’t say something new. I think it’s a huge statement, not just for the Sounders but also for the league. It shifts the balance more to Seattle. We will if this is the step we needed to be really the soccer capital of the United States. Of course, it’s just great and amazing for us to have him here.”