Wittman out for season, faces reconstructive knee surgery

December 29, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

Tim Wittman, the Spirit's No. 2 scorer and most versatile player, will undergo reconstructive surgery on his right knee and miss the rest of the season.

The extent of Wittman's injury, suffered during Sunday's win overthe Cleveland Crunch, was determined by a magnetic resonance imaging test at Union Memorial Hospital. He has a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Dr. Les Matthews will do an arthroscopic exploratory exam tomorrow and then perform major reconstructive surgery in about three weeks. It will be Wittman's sixth knee operation, but the previous five were for cartilage damage.

"I'm bitterly disappointed," coach Kenny Cooper said. "Timmy has been with me for 13 years. The way it happened upsets me. After studying the game film, we realized it was a late tackle from behind [by Shawn Medved], reckless and needless."

No violation was called by the officials on the play. Cooper plans to phone Cleveland general manager Al Miller "for his interpretation of this foul" before deciding whether to pursue the matter through the league.

Wittman was philosophical about the injury, saying that "things like this happen and I don't blame the kid. He was playing with a bit of intensity. No one intentionally tries to put somebody out."

Wittman is undecided about whether to come back next season. He will look at other possibilities, including coaching and operating a concessions business at Du Burns Arena.

"I've been fortunate to play 13 years without this type of injury until now," Wittman said. "I probably could play a few more years, even after this, but maybe I've played long enough. At this point, I don't know."

Ricky Bush, a rookie out of Towson State who had been on the developmental squad, will be in uniform for the first time for tonight'sgame against the Dayton Dynamo at the Baltimore Arena.

"We'll look around for a replacement for Timmy," Cooper said. "No rush, though. The team has played well. You've got to be sure anyone you bring in is a similar-type player."

Wittman, 30, a Calvert Hall grad, is second on the team in points (40) behind Paul Wright. He leads the Spirit in assists (19) and is tied for the lead in blocks (17). He is a top marker and a member of the Spirit's league-leading penalty-killing unit.

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