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Originally published July 23, 2013 at 8:07 PM | Page modified July 24, 2013 at 10:01 PM

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Sounders attempt to address injury woes

Amid a wave of injuries, Sounders FC fitness coach Dave Tenney said things aren’t as bad as they seem compared to seasons past: “From our side, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Seattle Times staff reporter

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TUKWILA — Asked if he spends 23 hours a day thinking about Sounders FC’s dire injury situation, fitness coach Dave Tenney said it wasn’t quite to that extent.

“Just 19,” he said jokingly.

That is about where the laughs end when it comes to an issue that had nine players unavailable or otherwise affected by injury in Seattle’s 1-1 tie Saturday against the Colorado Rapids. Coach Sigi Schmid has called it the worst run of injuries in team history.

“I think when you have the 10,000-foot view, things look really, really bad,” Tenney said. “When you have the up-close view, it’s not really as bad as you think.

“From our side, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Tenney is at the heart of the matter, particularly when it comes to the team’s use of sports science. The Sounders use of all sorts of technology like heart-rate monitors and GPS tracking to evaluate player workload throughout the season.

The question amid all the data: How many of the injuries could have been prevented?

To narrow it down, Tenney generally looks at non-contact, muscle injuries, as little can be done about goalkeeper Michael Gspurning having his forearm stepped on or midfielder Brad Evans getting kneed in the back.

“Stuff like that is going to happen,” Tenney said.

More concerning, for example, is a series of hamstring strains that hit Marcus Hahnemann, Djimi Traore and Andy Rose at about the same time. But even then, comparing a 41-year-old goalkeeper, a 33-year-old starting defender and a 23-year-old reserve midfielder, respectively, has challenges.

When it comes to preventing injury, a lot of the evaluation involves analysis of training and recovery.

One of the changes going forward could be how the Sounders treat bye weeks, as information has shown a number of injuries have come two to three weeks after such a break.

“Intuitively you see injuries and you say we’re so depleted, but we’re still on pace to have fewer games missed due to muscle injury than last year,” he said. “When I see that, I say we can’t really get that worked up about what’s going on.”

Matters just look worse because it has all hit at the same time.

“At the end of the day, you have to be confident in what you’re doing, accept that sometimes things are going to happen, make subtle corrections where you can, and then stay the course,” Tenney said.

Notes

Fredy Montero was unveiled Tuesday by Portugal’s Sporting Lisbon, where the Sounders FC forward will play on loan for the upcoming season.

Eddie Johnson is set to play for the U.S national team in Wednesday’s CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal against Honduras.

Obafemi Martins could be another injury concern as he was inadvertently kicked in the knee in Tuesday’s practice. “Hopefully it won’t be anything serious,” Schmid said.

Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or jmayers@seattletimes.com

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