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Jones near re-signing with Galaxy; Mathis avoids knee surgery

By Robert Wagman

(Saturday, March 3, 2001) -- It appears that Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Cobi Jones is ready to sign a new MLS contract which would make him the leagueís highest-paid American with a salary and guaranteed bonus in the $350,000 range and a side endorsement and licensing deal that might double his annual take.

One league source said he expected the negotiations to be completed this coming week.

The offer, which Jones has called "very fair" has been on the table for a couple of months, but Jones wanted to test the waters overseas. A recent trial with Ipswich Town did not result in a contract offer.

MRI tells Mathis no surgery needed

After a second medical opinion and an MRI, MetroStars midfielder Clint Mathis can rest easy that he will not need knee surgery.

Mathis has been bothered with minor pain in his right knee for the last month. The initial diagnosis was a cartilage tear that would require surgery to repair.

"My first thought was how could it be torn, it didnít really hurt all that much," Mathis said. "So I decided to get a second opinion and they did another MRI which showed no tear. I guess it was just some tendinitis. Iím glad they didnít operate and then found nothing."

Mathisí stock with the U.S. national team rose precipitously this week with strong performances against Mexico Wednesday and Brazil today.

Constant play has Olsen battered and bruised.

D.C. United midfielder Ben Olsen did not dress for either U.S. match, sidelined with injuries to both legs.

A primary reason world governing body FIFA has developed a unified international calendar is because players now compete almost year round, with the result being more injuries that are given less time to heal.

With United in MLS, for both the U.S. national and Olympic teams, and spending the MLS offseason on loan to Nottingham Forest of the English first division, Olsen has gone non-stop for two years. He is a battered and bruised player.

In his last match with Forest before joining the U.S. team in Columbus, Olsen was kicked in one ankle. Heíd already been struggling with pain in his other ankle and with an extremely sore hamstring. After working out with the national team for a day, he was scratched from the two U.S. matches this week.

Olsen, whose loan to Forest ends in May, has been hoping the move would become permanent, but it is not clear if Forest will meet MLSís asking price which is in excess of $2 million. Even if Olsen returns to United, he could be transfered back to Forest during the summer if the British club earns promotion to the Premier League.

Senior correspondent Robert Wagman can be e-mailed at

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