D.C. United's Laser Man
As Jaime Moreno and Luciano Emilio have rapidly nursed their sprained ankles back to health, they have used compression sleeves and electro-stimulation, Thera-Band resistance devices and Game Ready boot-like devices that deliver "intermittent compression and adjustable cold therapy." They've been instructed to spell out the alphabet with their injured ankles two or three times a day, and they've been through ultrasound treatments. Finally, they've been blasted, if that's the right word, with infrared beams from a $12,000 laser that the team has on loan for the playoffs.
"Hocus pocus," joked Ben Olsen about the laser.
"It's [bleep]," Moreno added, but he was just joking, too. "It must be good," he later said. "I mean, people work and study all these new technologies..."
And the lasers and streams of ice water and alphabet exercises seemed to have served their purpose. Moreno--the team's captain and offensive engine--and Emilio--the team's leading scorer and MVP candidate--both say they're on track to start tomorrow night's playoff game against the Chicago Fire.
"I'm great," Moreno said today.
"I try to start the game," Emilio said. "When I feel not good I must change, but I think I'm ready. I think I [will] not have problem. I don't have pain."
This was happy news for Brian Goodstein, the team's head athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coach, whose job got a bit more complicated when United's two most important players were injured in the final game of the regular season. For D.C. sports fans, this was Gilbert and Caron redux, the two stars hurt at the worst possible moment. For Goodstein, a frontrunner for MLS's trainer of the year award (really), it was "pressure time," although he said injuries to any players put pressure on the trainer, "whether they're the best two or the worst two."
In this case, Goodstein--who wanted me to insert a plug for his training staff--has been seeing the injured stars two or three times a day since Ankle Sprain Fest '07, meeting with them before training, during training and after training.
"Too much time," Emilio said. And what do they talk about during all this time together?
"We talk about sex," said Moreno, who's been urging Goodstein to start a family. "But I'm not his dad. He's gonna decide when he's gonna have children. Well, not him, his wife."
Anyhow, Goody, as he is universally known, feels good about the two stars heading into tomorrow and said he wouldn't be dreaming about ankle ligaments because "I pretty much leave my job at work."
"I'm happy, job well done, but again, it's my job to get them back in the quickest and safest time possible," said Goodstein, in his fifth year with United. "Just doing my job."
(By the way, Goody is a former collegiate wrestler at the University of Delaware who United's players say could thrash anyone in the locker room if he so wanted. That apparently increases the effectiveness of Goodstein's medical advice. "You kind of have to do what he says," Olsen said, "or he'll get you in a spladle.")
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