Sounders Insider

Zakuani: Recovery progress gives peace of mind

"I actually ran w/ the ball & did some dribbling, passing, & light touches today! Wow I never thought I'd be where I am just 3 months on."

Reading that, I followed up with him today after Sounders training at Starfire:

Q: How is the recovery going?SZ: It’s going great. I feel good. In terms of physical recovery, it’s three and a half months now, so the doctors nor myself felt I’d be this far at this stage. There’s still a long way to go, but it’s just nice to put my boots on again, and I can juggle the ball a little bit and slowly dribble or slowly pass – not at my full capacity, obviously, but it’s way better than when I was in the hospital. I’ve made progress, and I have peace of mind because of that.

Q: I know you've been reluctant to give timelines, but are you now pretty certain you'll be back for next season?SZ: I don’t think next season was never in question. The second I was injured in Colorado I was trying to plot my comeback. I think we’ve handled it well by not putting pressure to be back by this date because had they said that and the date came and went without me being back, that could discourage me. So I didn’t want that from the beginning. And I’m still there. We’re still going week by week. It happened on a Friday, so every Friday we sit down and said OK, what could we do this week that we couldn’t do last Friday, and what can we try to do next week that we can’t do this week? So, it’s two crutches instead of one, it’s walk without crutches, now it’s like let’s juggle, let’s spring, let’s cut, let’s turn. So just slow progress and then in due time – once you check off all those boxes – be ready. I’m not sure when it will be: It could be in two months, three months, next season, five years, but I’m just ready to be back.

Q: How have the fans been though this process?SZ: Tremendous. It’s strange that this had to happen for me to realize how much the fans mean to me. I guess that’s a blessing. I’ve been to Starbucks sometimes and everybody says ‘How’s your leg? How are you doing?’ These are people I’ve never met before. It’s amazing to have that kind of support in the city and people sending messages to me on Facebook and Twitter. One line – ‘I hope you get better soon’ – and that means the world to me. I have four boxes of unopened letters in my house because I just can’t go through them all yet, and I want to read each letter carefully because people took their time to reach out to me. I think the fans have made it so easy: They’ve been great saying ‘We can’t wait to have you back,’ and this and that. It’s just every day something new. That definitely motivates me and gives me strength. And when I’m out here training you start to visualize that I’m coming back, and I’ve thought that from the beginning. Whatever it takes, I’m just ready for that day.