Steve Zakuani scared a lot of fans Wednesday night when he went down and then left the game after taking a knock to his previously injured right leg.
After training today, Zakuani said he’s sorry about that. He clarified that he’s fine and that it would take a lot to actually re-injure the fractured leg.
Meanwhile, coach Sigi Schmid pointed to Zakuani’s progress and said he will be “part of our playoff activity for sure.”
Here’s some of what both men had to say:
On taking the hit: It wasn’t the worst hit. It happened a couple of minutes before I went down, and I just felt like a brush on my leg. It just hit me in the right spot. I had a bit of pain. Had it been a … playoff game could I have carried on? Probably. But I just wanted to take a precaution and not risk anything. There was a bit too much pain to play on that night, but I feel fine today and there’s no lasting damage.
On if he feared at the time it was a major setback: It would take a lot. I spoke to a team doctor right after the game and he said it will take a lot to do damage again with the steel rod and the way that the bone grew back. No, I don’t have any concerns about that, and I’ve been hurt much worse in training. I wanted to go 90 minutes for my fitness – that was the main disappointment of it.
On signs of regaining his playing form: I’ve felt good for a long time in training. I think I’ve played maybe four MLS games and I feel OK. I think it’s still maybe after four or five games in two years, it takes maybe a while to put together a 90-minute performance, but I’m getting there. There are no excuses from my end. From my end I’m ready to play, I’m ready to be considered. I felt very good on Wednesday. I was happy with my performance. Goals give confidence, obviously. And if it’s me looking like my old self, then that’s good. But I feel ready to play, and I feel as good as I did before.
On tweets from concerned fans: I was really surprised. I didn’t know I would get people as scared. I didn’t mean to do that. People were like, ‘Not again.’ No, I just generally felt a little bit of a hit and came out. I really didn’t mean to do that. I sent out a tweet saying, ‘I’m not injured, don’t be concerned.’ I know I’m fine, I’m totally fine. It would take a lot for me to re-injure it.
SCHMID on how close Zakuani is: “It’s tough because he’s accomplished so much this year. I mean everything that he’s had to come through, that he’s had to work through at the beginning of the season. A player always has a better season when the off-season can be a preparation for the season. When you in the off-season are trying to rehab an injury or just take care of something, then it takes you a little longer to roll into a season. Well, he had to take care of a lot in the off-season, so I don’t disagree with what he said and that I said at the beginning: His best soccer is going to be 2013. But he’s really surprised me with what he’s been able to do. He’s achieving well. He’s got some assists in the game’s he’s played, he’s got a goal in MLS, he’s got a goal in Champions League, he’s got a couple of goals in the reserves game now. So he’s making a lot of good progress. He’s doing well enough where he’s going to be part of our playoff activity for sure. And then when he has this off-season not to work on getting ready for the season in 2013, I think Steve can get back to where he was.”