Midfielder frustrated by "freak" injury

John Thorrington's MLS tenure has been marred by injuries. But he's convinced that the medial collateral ligament sprain in his left knee suffered in D.C. United's 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake, which is expected to keep him off the field for 8-12 weeks, isn't related to the quadriceps, hamstring and calf problems he's had in the past.

"The chronic issues are the ones that have kind of plagued me consistently," Thorrington said. "But this was just a freak thing, and obviously it's very disappointing for me and frustrating. That goes without saying."

The 33-year-old midfielder paid the price for simultaneous contact with the ball and Alvaro Saborio's left foot in the second half on Saturday. The pain was familiar; he'd suffered a similar injury in his first practice with the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park in 2006. D.C. United also contended with a similar injury to Dwayne De Rosario last year.

"He was probably more empathetic than anybody, having recently gone through it," Thorrington said. "That's also good because this medical staff has just dealt with the exact same injury that I'm going through. They're well versed in it."

Acquired in the MLS re-entry draft during the offseason after playing 19 games (15 starts) for Vancouver last season, Thorrington started each of D.C. United's first two games. Brought in to provide a crucial presence for a team lacking a true two-way central player, Thorrington created United's only goal against Salt Lake with a chip over the defense that was saved by goalkeeper Nick Rimando but fell into Lionard Pajoy's lap for a diving header.

"For me, the first thing he provides is leadership and sort of a calmness because he's been around for a long time playing this game," United midfielder Chris Pontius said. "On the soccer side of things, you lose someone that's very comfortable on the ball, very creative. I know he might not be the most athletic player, but he's creative and can find spots and get you balls in good spots. We lose that, and it sucks. I feel for John. He worked all preseason to get fit for the season and the second game, this thing happens."