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January 24, 2012
Injured Krieger wants to play in Olympics

By Michael Lewis Editor

U.S. defender Ali Krieger hopes to be back in time for the Olympics.
U.S. defender Ali Krieger hopes to be back in time for the Olympics.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
VANCOUVER ó Just how much does Ali Krieger want to play in the London Olympics?

On Monday, she flew out to Washington, D.C. to schedule an appointment to get surgery done on her injured right knee as soon as possible. If she misses out on the United States clinching a berth in the Summer Games in the CONCACAF womenís Olympic qualifying on Friday, so be it.

Thatís how much she wants to participate the Olympics.

Initial reports have the 27-year-old standout left fullback sidelined from six to eight months to recuperate from ACL and MCL surgery, but Krieger is optimsitic she can return much sooner.

ďIím going to do it as soon as possible this week because I want to start that process and try and get back and still hope for the Olympics,Ē she said after the U.S.ís 13-0 victory over Guatemala at BC Place on Sunday night.

Krieger plans to have Dr. Christopher Annunziata, team physician of the Washington Redskins who has operated on D.C. United players, perform the surgery.

ďI want to get this done as soon as possible. Dr. Annunziata is a really well known doctor in the D.C. metropolitan area. He operated on my foot previously, so I have a lot of trust in him. Iím going to do it as soon as possible this week because I want to start that process and try and get back and still hope for the Olympics.Ē

Krieger sounded like one determined woman while talking about her predicament in the mixed zone area after the match.

ďIím not going to give up. Iím not going to lose hope,Ē she said. ďEveryoneís different. People who have had this said that everythingís different. Some people have gotten back in four months. Some people have gotten back in nine [months], a year. But Iím going to stay hopeful and stay positive. Iím pretty strong and a fighter. Iíve been there before. I think Iím going to come back stronger than ever.Ē

Krieger admitted she still could not believe what had happened to her. She was one of the revelations of the U.S. at last summerís Womenís World Cup in Germany with her steady play on the backline. She also came up big for the U.S., converting the game-winning penalty kick in its quarterfinal shootout win over Brazil.

ďIím still kind of in shock, to be honest. After such a year and awesome World Cup that weíve had had, I wanted to be part of the team this whole entire year building to another amazing event. So Iím hoping I can get a piece of that, but Iím going to take it one day, one week at a time and have one goal throughout each week and try to see what happens and progress from there.Ē

The last few days have been an emotional rollercoaster ride for Krieger.

ďIím OK. Up and down. It comes in waves,Ē she said. ďItís been pretty emotional. Itís been pretty draining the past few days. Itís my first time injuring my knee and obviously I want to be playing, who doesnít. But Iím taking it pretty well. Iím staying positive and looking forward. Just taking it one day at a time.Ē

When she suffered the injuries, Krieger admitted she did not realize their extent. The Dominican Republicís Leonela Mojica raked Kriegerís right knee with an extended foot while she was shooting late in the first half.

ďI didnít know it was my ACL,Ē she said. ďIt didnít feel that bad to be honest but I knew something obviously was wrong. I didnít think I could get that much pain and not have it be wrong. It could be just a knock or a bruise, contusion or something like that.
So I knew something was pretty bad. I was hoping for the best but the MRI sees a little better than I do.Ē

International veteran Heather Mitts has stepped into Kriegerís role at right back. She started against Guatemala and is expected to play against Mexico in the final group stage match on Tuesday night.

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