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More injury trouble for Seattle's star signing
by Ridge Mahoney, December 22nd, 2008 7AM



[MLS] The Curse of the Designated Player, like that of the Sports Illustrated cover, is alive and well.Yet another DP has been struck down by injury and will arrive, if not damaged, certainly on the mend. This time the victim has yet to play as much as a minute for his MLS team.

Freddie Ljungberg, who took a buyout from West Ham United last summer while hounded by some fitness concerns, will be sidelined for at least two months while recovering from hip surgery.

A Seattle Sounders FC press release said the surgery was performed by Dr. Marc Philippon and Lungberg is expected to make a full recovery, yet won't return to training for "10 to 12" weeks.

Ljungberg, while working out, apparently aggravated a hamstring injury he's been bothered by the past few years. Leg and hamstring injuries sidelined him in the past, and when West Ham announced it had reached the settlement to terminate his contract its statement included a clause stating the player's physical condition had no bearing on the agreement.

"As he increased his training intensity, he suffered a mild re-occurrence of the hamstring problems that have occasionally hampered him over the past two years," said Seattle general manager Adrian Hanauer. "At that point, Freddie and the club wanted to be proactive and we decided to have him see the best hip and hamstring specialists in the country.

"It was ultimately determined that the best course of action was to repair a slightly torn labrum, and to shave a very small amount of bone where the hip meets the femur. The objective of this surgery is to eliminate the nagging injuries and to ensure that Freddie has the explosiveness necessary to be a major contributor for Sounders FC every time he steps on the pitch."

Ljungberg, 31, is one of the younger DPs signed by MLS, yet is the second to arrive injured. David Beckham hobbled into MLS from Real Madrid and struggled through successive injuries while playing just five league games in 2007.

Claudio Reyna seldom enjoyed full health in MLS and retired after a season and a half. Marcelo Gallardo missed one-half of the 2008 season with injuries after being signed as a DP by D.C. United.

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