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Michelle Akers Undergoes MRI After Dislocating Shoulder; Will Have Surgery Next Week and Be Out up to Three Months

CHICAGO (Friday, March 31, 2000) - U.S. Women's National Team veteran Michelle Akers underwent an MRI on her right shoulder yesterday after dislocating it when falling after a collision with a goalkeeper during a training match the previous Sunday. The results of the MRI found no damage to the bone, cartilage and rotator cuff, which was positive news, had there been injuries to those areas, the rehabilitation may have taken longer. Akers did however suffer a "SLAP lesion," meaning that the biceps anchor was pulled off the insertion point in her shoulder and that the joint capsule of the shoulder was somewhat loose, according to U.S. Team Physician Dr. Rob Palumbo.

Akers, 34, will undergo arthroscopic surgery next Tuesday or Wednesday in Orlando, Fla., to repair the biceps anchor and tighten up the shoulder joint. The normal rehabilitation period is three months, indicating a July return to full-time training and giving her two and half months of training and games to prepare for the Olympics.

"This is definitely a bummer," said Akers, who has rebounded from multiple injuries in a stellar career that has seen her score 104 goals in 147 games for the U.S. National Team. "But I am confident that the recovery will go quickly. I am shooting to return to the team as soon as possible and be fit and ready for the Olympics."

Akers originally separated her right shoulder against Russia in Rochester, N.Y., on September 18, 1998. She re-injured the shoulder in a bizarre event during the 1999 Women's World Cup in Boston. She was circling the field and high-fiving fans after the victory when a fan grabbed her hand, pulling her off her feet and popping her should out of joint. The injury last weekend was the first time she had dislocated the shoulder.