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July 17, 2008
Wambach surgery called successful

San Diego -- It certainly did not take Abby Wambach long to undergo the knife less than a day after a devastating injury.

The U.S. Women’s National Team forward underwent successful surgery Thursday morning at Sharp Memorial Hospital to repair a broken leg suffered in the USA’s 1-0 victory over Brazil Wednesday night.

The surgery, which took about an hour, was performed by Dr. Damion Valletta, a U.S. Soccer orthopedic surgeon.

The injury will keep Wambach, who has scored 99 international goals, out of next month's Beijing Olympics.

Wambach underwent a procedure called a “left tibia intramedullary nail placement,” which inserts a titanium rod to reinforce the broken tibia, with screws to anchor the rod below the knee and above the ankle. The broken fibula was realigned and will heal on its own.

“Everything went according to plan, there were no complications and small incisions were used to minimize the soft tissue irritability from the surgery,” Valletta said in a statement. “We’ll have her stay in the hospital until tomorrow, monitor the pain and control the swelling in her leg. We anticipate that she will be discharged tomorrow on crutches and will start being able to put a small amount of weight on the leg.”

Wambach, who was resting comfortably, will be able to begin full weight-bearing activities on the leg within five-to-six weeks due to the stabilization of the leg with the titanium rod.

“She’s sustained a very significant injury to her bone,” Valletta said. “It can sometimes take a year to return a professional player to her previous level of activity, but the expectation is that we will have an aggressive rehab program and progress her weight-bearing rapidly to minimize her time lost for competition.”

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