August 26, 2012

MVP Mundorf Attempts to Play Despite Torn Tendons

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

MLL Championship

* Bayhawks Down Outlaws 16-6 to Win Title
* Live Blog Replay

MLL MVP Brendan Mundorf took pain-killing injections Sunday in his left ankle to try to play through what he said were torn tendons, but left the game in the second quarter.
© Bryce Vickmark

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Brendan Mundorf emerged from the Denver Outlaws' post-game locker room on crutches, intent on leaving Harvard Stadium quickly. He just didn't know how he'd do it. "I guess we'll just get a cab," he said.

Mundorf, who was named league MVP on Thursday, tore ligaments in his left ankle in practice Friday and the injury was a point of discussion and concern all weekend for the Outlaws, who sought their first Major League Lacrosse championship in seven straight post-season appearances.

The injured ankle might require surgery. It certainly forced Mundorf to miss Saturday's semifinal against Long Island, and he left Sunday's MLL championship game against the Chesapeake Bayhawks in the second quarter when pain-killing shots he took pre-game wore off.

"Some tendons came off on my ankle on the bone," Mundorf said in his first comments detailing the injury, which occurred when he was hit with a stick on the outside of the ankle Friday. "Something holds them down, and that tore."

Mundorf said he would have the ankle re-evaluated by Dr. Les Matthews when he returns home to Baltimore.

Mundorf looked good in pre-game warmups Sunday — and much better than he did Saturday — going through a series of drills to test his movement. He ran freely under supervision of a trainer, but he also couldn't feel the pain. Throughout the first quarter and into the second, he hobbled on offense when play was in the Outlaws' defensive zone. A hard, clean hit from Chesapeake defenseman Brian Spallina put attention on Mundorf's injury even more, and after a timeout with 7:20 left in the second quarter, he never re-entered the game.

"My injury wasn't going to allow me to play," he said. "The warmup went good before the game. I had some local numbing injections. They felt great. I thought I was going to be able to go, not 100 percent, but more than I was [able to]. [The] stuff wore off by the time the game started.

"It was getting worse and worse. The hit really didn't make it worse, but as the game was going on, it got to the point where I couldn't really run any more."

Mundorf spent the second half laid up on a bench. His ankle was wrapped in ice, and he was later given a pair of crutches. Denver's Jeremy Sieverts scored to cut the Bayhawks lead to 7-4 before the timeout in which Mundorf exited for good.

"To not be out there with your team, fighting with your team and not being able to play is not how you want to do it," he said. "It's hard to sit there and watch."

The Outlaws scored just two goals without Mundorf, as they were unable to replicate the offensive output from the semifinals when rookie Chris Bocklet scored six goals and fellow first-year pro Mark Matthews tallied five points.

With Mundorf out, Chesapeake defenseman Michael Evans shifted to cover Matthews, and not stick to Mundorf like glue as he was assigned to do with him in the lineup, according to Bayhawks coach Dave Cottle.

Matthews finished with a team-high three points and Sieverts was the second leading scorer with two.

"Brendan Mundorf being out was a terrible thing for them," Cottle said. "I feel terrible for the guy, and terrible for the team. He had been the best offensive player of the season and doesn't get a chance to play."

When Mundorf was hurt in practice Friday, the injury's severity was unknown. Mundorf downplayed it afterward saying he was "fine" and it was a "bruise" but at the same time he limped considerably and he was unable to play Saturday after going through a similar pre-game test that he did ahead of the championship game.

"We had a little juice early with Mundy in there," Outlaws coach Jim Stagnitta said. "He was pretty banged up and we didn't want to do any further damage. We just didn't have enough firepower."

Check back to LaxMagazine.com for more from MLL Championship Weekend, including photos and post-game video interviews.


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