WASHINGTON – After establishing himself as the club’s first-choice defensive midfielder in 2007, Clyde Simms became a near-constant presence in the D.C. United lineup, logging a remarkable 6,836 total minutes over two seasons to cement his reputation as the club’s “iron man.”
But 2010 has been a very different story. The Jamestown, N.C., native has been hounded by a variety of health problems ever since preseason, routinely robbing the Black-and-Red of a pivotal presence in the heart of their squad.
Simms is far from full fitness and he already knows he’ll have to undergo sports-hernia surgery at the close of the campaign. But he’s doing his best to play through the pain as he tries to help his former teammate, DC interim coach Ben Olsen, salvage a bit of United’s pride down the home stretch.
Simms recently gave MLSsoccer.com an update on his condition.
MLSsoccer.com: Lately you’ve been fighting through your second sports hernia in as many years. How are you feeling?
Simms: Pretty good. We’ve got me on some anti-inflammatory [drugs]. I hadn’t been able to take them due to the kidneys, and so we’ve got some that doesn’t affect them as much, so I think they’re helping for sure. They take away some of that pressure and ultimately allow me to feel better.
MLSsoccer.com: Your previous anti-inflammatories were causing kidney problems? That sounds dangerous.
Simms: Yeah, they just were affecting my kidneys and as soon as I got off of them, in midseason, it kind of went away. So I’ve got to stay away from some of them.
MLSsoccer.com: Just how much has this latest injury affected your ability to perform?
Simms: When it feels good, it feels fine. I feel good and I think I can get through trainings and games. But the next couple of days is when it’s bad and then that makes me miss a couple practices, so … it affects fitness a little bit because you’re having to sit out some days and you’re not getting the training that everyone else is getting that you need for 90 minutes. But when it feels good, I can go.
Fortunately … it’s at the end of the season, where I’m in good shape to begin with. Some rest, I think, is good, but I still think I’m fit enough to put in some good minutes.
MLSsoccer.com: This condition can cause pain in a variety of areas, correct?
Simms: It moves around from day to day. It’s frustrating. Some days I feel it right on the spot, some days up in the abs, some days down in the adductor. With sports hernias, the stomach lining comes through that layer and it just pulls, and that affects everything else.
It’s just wear and tear. They see it a lot, especially with center midfielders because you’re opening up [your hips] a lot. It’s common in soccer and hockey players.
MLSsoccer.com: Early on this season you said you might be “due” for a few injuries, given how few of them you had early on in your MLS career. After dealing with knee, hamstring, calf and now sports-hernia troubles this year, are you reconsidering that perspective?
Simms: Yeah, it hasn’t been fun. Talking with Benny [Olsen], he thinks it’s maybe from being the "iron man" the last couple of years. Hopefully I can get all these little surgeries out of my system now and be ready to finish my career.
MLSsoccer.com: Is it safe to assume you’ll be going under the knife soon after the season ends?
Simms: I think it’s something that I have to do. But the positive is, I had the same problems on the right side last season and as soon as I had surgery, I haven’t had any problems since.
MLSsoccer.com: Last year you flew to Munich to have the procedure performed by Dr. Ulrike Muschaweck, the world’s top specialist in pubalgia surgery. Is that the plan this time as well?
Simms: Yes. I don’t know why they didn’t go ahead and do both [last year]. When they did my examination, they said that they saw where it started [to tear] on the left, but they didn’t recommend surgery.
MLSsoccer.com: This injury-plagued season has surely been challenging for you.
Simms: It definitely has, but I’ve been around long enough to see other guys go through much worse and I think the biggest thing is to stay positive. It’s hard work to get back from injuries, back to where you’re full speed, so you’ve just got to keep working. It’s something that all professional athletes go through if you play for long enough. I’ve just got to stay positive.