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Shoulder separation has Akers out three months.

ORLANDO, Fla. (Friday, March 31, 2000) -- Womenís World Cup "Most Valuable Player" Michelle Akers will undergo arthroscopic surgery on her right shoulder during the middle of next week after the United States midfielder dislocated it after falling because of a collision with a goalkeeper in a training match 12 days ago.

Akers, 34, will be out about three months and hopes for a July return to full-time training, giving her two-and-a-half months of training and games to prepare for the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Many believe Akers will retire from the U.S. national team after the Olympics.

"This is definitely a bummer," said Akers, who has rebounded from multiple injuries in a stellar career that has seen her score 104 goals in 147 games for the for the U.S. "But I am confident that the recovery will go quickly. I am shooting to return to the team as soon as possible and be fit and ready for the Olympics."

Akers underwent yesterday an MRI which found no damage to the bone, cartilage and rotator cuff in the right shoulder, which was positive news. Had there been injuries to those areas, the rehabilitation likely would have taken longer. Akers did however suffer a "SLAP lesion," meaning that the biceps anchor was pulled off the insertion point in her shoulder and that the joint capsule of the shoulder was somewhat loose, according to U.S. team physician Dr. Rob Palumbo.

Akersí surgery Tuesday or Wednesday in Orlando will repair the biceps anchor and tighten up the shoulder joint.

Akers originally separated her right shoulder against Russia in Rochester, N.Y., on September 18, 1998. She re-injured the shoulder in a bizarre event during the 1999 Women's World Cup at Foxboro Stadium outside of Boston.

She was circling the field and high-fiving fans after the victory when a fan grabbed her hand, pulling her off her feet and popping her shoulder out of joint.

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