Oh my gosh, Landon Donovan is out with a hang nail!
Tim Howard just got a bad haircut.
Rico Clark, calf strain. “The horror…….the horror!”
Clint Dempsey, “Yikes!”
At The Shin Guardian over the past six months, we’ve been beat in the face with the impact of injuries on the USMNT. Some have been major, others nuisances.
So today, we’re coming out with the soccer equivalent of baseball’s vaunted Mendoza Line…for injuries. Not quite, but that was the genesis of this column. We’re going to have a little fun, but also ease your mind…
Not every injury is a big one, not everyone a small one…some have potential to heal quickly; others to manifest for a full season.
So to help out USMNT fans, we’re coming out with our USMNT Match Fit Index (MFI) to help you and others wade through the noise of player data around hamstring pulls, split ends, chapped lips, knee surgeries and other major, or completely not-major, ailments.
We’re not doctors or Gaylord Fockers mind you, so when the situation demands for a proper medical opinion, we’ll point you to the experts. This is merely to try to add some humor, some perspective; add a little levity to the situation instead of ….PANIC!
There are four simple distinctions on the MFI:
(These are subject to revisions as our readers weigh in….)
Match Fit: Player is in top or near-top physical form, has a sound mind (that we can tell) and is ready to contribute on the pitch for club and country.
Perspective: They’re raring to go and in the form that USMNT fans look for.
Magic Spray: The player has a knock, but in a likelihood a little puff-puff and they’re doing stretches on the sideline waiting to return to the game.
Perspective: The player is likely going to make a go of it, but probably won’t be at full strength for a match’s entirety or part of it…sometimes it’s not even known that the player needs Magic Spray until well afterward. (See Landon example below…)
Training Table: The player has a minor injury, likely no more than a 6-weeker. The injury might get worse. It won’t keep them out for an extended point of time and they should be back to their standing in the timeline offered.
Perspective: Some concern here, but a very wait-and-see, don’t freak out situation. Many times a Training Table ranking gets treated as a Medic! and that’s probably not the right reaction.
For example, should Tim Howard slide onto the training table, the appropriate reaction would not be to run out and buy a Brad Guzan jersey.
—- World Cup 2010, if they are potentially on the roster, is not assured at this point for the player below this line at this time —-
Medic!: Player is out without an absolute timeline to their return to match fitness and play on the pitch. This is obviously the bottom and worst spot you can be in the index….you don’t want to be here.
Perspective: Verifiable concern here. Fans should not jump to conclusions on returns just yet. Every bit of news is scrutinized and that is somewhat okay.
Ricardo Clark….on the training table….
Landon Donovan at the Azteca….hmm….Magic Spray? Gave myself a tough one there with that H1N1
Charlie Davies….Medic! Gooch Monster…Medic! …both hopefully moving to the Training Table soon.
Jermaine Jones…once on the Training Table now going to see the Medic!
John O’Brien…I have no idea where we put chronic suffers here. I’m going to say he was nearly.
Chad Marshall…Magic Spray.
Seems about right?