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National Team Striker’s Injury Serious

Posted April. 11, 2006 02:59,   


Korean national soccer team striker Lee Dong-guk’s (27, Pohang Steelers) knee injury is serious, according to an announcement from Yun Yeong-seol, Yonsei Medical School doctor and medical division chairman of Korea Football Association at a press conference at Seoul’s Shinmunro Soccer Hall yesterday. “Lee’s right knee ligament was damaged, the knee joint has collected some water, and there is a minute amount of bleeding as well,” he said.

Lee, the best goal-maker on the national team, injured his right knee while playing in a K-League game against Incheon United on April 5.

Lee went through two separate and detailed checkups from Pohang SM Christianity Hospital and Seoul Asan Hospital. “The extent of his injury is not slight. There are two treatment options: surgery and rehabilitation. Lee chose rehabilitation treatment,” Yun said.

Surgery would have been the less risky option for Lee’s athletic career. But after missing a chance to play in the 2002 World Cup, Lee is determined to play in this year’s.

Whether or not the national team will be able to welcome Lee back is yet unclear. But physical rehabilitation specialists are optimistic. Jin Yeong-su, the head of the rehabilitative medical center at Asan Hospital, says, “It depends on the severity of the injury. But professional soccer players, who have well-developed leg muscles, tend to recover faster than ordinary people. It will not be a hundred percent recovery, but good enough for him to play as his usual self for a short period.”

Another official from technical division shared that Lee’s willingness was not in question. “He was one among many that were competing for the active roster. If his condition is less than desirable, the manager will choose someone else.” Meanwhile, Advocaat said, “This is time to encourage Lee. We will reexamine him around May 11. I will keep an eye out for good rehabilitation facilities.” Lee is looking for a rehabilitation facility located overseas so he can concentrate primarily on his recovery.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com