SANDY, Utah — It was something he had likely experienced hundreds—if not thousands—of times before. Just before halftime in Real Salt Lake's home match against the Seattle Sounders on April 10, midfielder Ned Grabavoy received a boot to the leg from a sliding tackle.
However, this time something was different.
“At that moment, right when it happened, I knew that something was wrong,” he said.
It turns out he was right—there was indeed something wrong. Grabavoy suffered a partially torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee. The injury was unchartered territory for the seventh-year veteran.
“I’ve never really had an injury since I’ve been in the league,” he said.
As Grabavoy was lying on the field, his awareness of the injury became even more acute.
“It was definitely a deep shot of pain,” he said. “I kind of knew even before the trainer came out that I had probably sprained a ligament in my knee.”
In sports, injuries are part of the job, as is playing through pain and suffering. However, the hardest aspect to deal with of an injury may be the emotional and psychological impact that comes along with it.
“It’s tough to miss any games," Grabavoy said. "You go through preseason and regular weeks of training, and you want to be there for your team.”
Grabavoy lamented having a setback after just the third match of the season having prepared so well for the season. The veteran midfielder said the waiting and the unknowns can be particularly excruciating.
One of the hardest parts of being injured comes on gameday. As Real Salt Lake took the field on April 17 at the Home Depot Center to face off against the Los Angeles Galaxy, Grabavoy was right there … with the rest of us, watching it on television. Grabavoy said he was “sitting on my couch, just watching the game and knowing that there’s nothing you can do.”
The bright news is that Grabavoy underwent a relatively new approach for recovery, and it’s paying off. Just a couple of days after the injury he received a PRP injection, which stands for platelet-rich plasma. It’s a form of therapy that seems to be reducing recovery times for injuries to joints. In Grabavoy’s case, he actually saw the field in a recent friendly match just five weeks—he was initially given 6-8 weeks of recovery time—after the initial injury, and he is expected to be available for selection this Saturday against Chivas.
Now it’s time for the final wait for Grabavoy—waiting for the coach to call his name.