The last few months of the 2004 season did not fare well for a few MetroStars players when it came to their health. Jonny Walker, Seth Stammler and Eddie Gaven were all injured in August, but continued to play throughout the season. After the 2004 campaign came to an end all three underwent successful surgeries and will begin rehab within the next couple of weeks.
On Nov. 17, Gaven underwent surgery for an inguinal hernia injury, which he was initially hampered by in late August. Dr. Richard Cattey performed the procedure at Columbia Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisc. Gaven suffered this injury from overworking his body. He will begin a core strengthening program with the MetroStars athletic trainers Stu Schwerner and John Gallucci within the next two weeks.
Despite Gaven's late season injury, he had a very successful sophomore season, tallying 21 points on seven goals and seven assists. He also earned MLS Best XI honors and a starting position on the Eastern Conference All-Star team. Earlier this summer, Gaven received his first full national team cap in an international friendly against Poland on July 11, entering the 1-1 game in the 82nd minute. Gaven is the fourth youngest player in U.S. history to play in a senior national team game.
Stammler also suffered an injury late in the season when he injured a tendon in his right ankle. Stammler had surgery on Nov. 12, which was performed by Dr. Bauman of St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan. Stammler will see his physician on Dec. 9 and will begin his rehabilitation immediately following that visit, first working with the MetroStars athletic trainers before going home to Columbus where he will work with Craig Devin, head ATC/PT of the Crew, until returning to the Metros for preseason.
Stammler's rehab will consist of an early range of motion plan, slowly working towards strengthening. This is the second injury Stammler has had this year, the first coming in February when he tore a tendon in his left ankle, sidelining him for several months.
Stammler was drafted as the Metros' first pick (18th overall) in the 2004 MLS Superdraft. During his rookie season he played his one and only game on June 19, facing the Los Angeles Galaxy after coming on as a sub for Pablo Brenes.
Walker's injury occurred around the same time as Gaven's. The goalkeeper partially tore his rotator cuff on Aug. 29 during warm-ups as the MetroStars prepared to face the Columbus Crew. Walker was operated on by Dr. Decter of Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J. on Nov. 10. He began shoulder-specific rehabilitation on Monday with the MetroStars' athletic trainers.
Walker was acquired during the 2003 season to replace departed goalkeeper Tim Howard and he immediately put up impressive numbers. During his shortened rookie campaign in MLS, Walker played 14 games for the Metros, logging 55 saves, five shutouts and an impressive 0.95 goals against average. For his career with the MetroStars, Walker has been in net for 42 games, posting nine shutouts and 154 saves. During his second season in the MLS, Walker earned three caps with the U.S. men's national team, posting an impressive 1-0-2 record.
All three players are on track to be healthy for the start of the 2005 season.