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Translations by Tomas Jandik
Straka - post-injury interview (MF Dnes) - 30-Oct-01
http://hokej.idnes.cz/nhl.asp?r=nhl&c=A011030_090135_nhl_bra&t=A011030_090135_nhl_bra&r2=nhl

(Oct 29, 2001 interview)

BECAUSE OF THE PAIN, STRAKA ALMOST BIT HIS CHAIR

I lie in bed at home and wait for them to come and take me to the hospital. Right now they have Mario Lemieux in there, he is on the list for the morning. He is up for the hip arthroscopy surgery. I am supposed to go right after him, at 1PM I’ll be ready in the surgery room.

Looks like you are in a good mood. How do you actually feel?

Every time I stand up, I start sweating profusely, and I get goose bumps. I have to lie down, I get chill fever for five minutes, and my wife has to put a blanket on me. Right now I have to go to the bathroom, and I have been contemplating for one hour whether it is worth the problems.

What happened during that game against Florida?

Idiot me. I tripped over the linesman, and maybe even over the line itself. Then my leg got stuck in the boards, and at the same time that bear-like defenseman bumped into me. I lost my balance, fell backwards and landed on my leg.

One can read from the TV pictures that you suffered quite a lot…

That pain was terrible, but I thought that I just pulled the ligament in my ankle. I couldn’t get up so they dragged me off the ice.

What was next? How did they examine you in the locker room?

I myself was able to take my leg protectors off. The pain was fading. It didn’t even get swollen that much. Our doctor examined the bone, and I pretty much did not feel anything. I realized that somebody could almost think that I simulate. So I said. ‘Let’s put it into the ice for five minutes, and I’ll return back to the game.’

You seriously wanted to play with the broken leg?

I still did not know what had happened. I tried to get up, unsuccessfully. The doctor took me for the X-rays right in the stadium. Just to be sure that the leg wasn’t broken.

So they X-rayed you right in the stadium?

Yep. They took some pictures, and I started to ice my leg in the meantime. After a while they all came back like a procession. The woman with the pictures, and the doctors right behind her. And they said that my leg was broken.

You were surprised, weren’t you?

When they said ‘a fracture’, I thought it was some small bone in my ankle. But the doctor said: ‘You broke your tibia. Six months without hockey. The surgery is tomorrow.’ I thought he went crazy.

How did you get home?

My wife drove me back. Thank God she was at the game.

And how did you spend the rest of the evening?

The bone started ‘waking up’ gradually. And our doctor did not even give me any painkillers. That skunk! The pain was increasing; I was sitting on the chair thinking that I may eat it [because of all that pain].

Did you get any sleep at all?

Maybe one hour, in 15-minute intervals. I have to keep my leg in the air not to get it swollen. Veronika was taking care of me, and so she did not get any sleep either. I tried to watch some TV, we have like 150 channels here, but they did not show anything interesting.

That must have been pretty bad…

How I was looking forward to the dawn! Like never before in my life. That darkness was crushing me. When I started seeing some light, it was like Christmas for me. Then I went to the phone. I was waiting for people to call me, I wanted to chat …

How is the surgery supposed to be like?

They said they would put some screws in my leg between the knee and the ankle, so that the bone can heal faster. Naturally they’ll put me into full anesthesia. I have never been in that state, and I suspect I’ll feel pretty bad after the surgery.

Just for a while after you wake up. You should be OK in an hour.

Really? That’s good news.

How long do you expect your recovery will take?

I’ll be wearing a cast for two weeks. I should be back in shape in about four months.

But by that time, the Olympics will be over…

Looks like I won’t be able to go.

If your bone heals fast, you’ll still have some hope. Dr Barna from Motol hospital in Prague claims that you may be back on the ice in two months if everything goes perfect.

That’s some good news. I will fight! I am a fighter. I let the screws get removed after the season. I just wish for the surgery to go well.

You are a very important person for the National Team. Who else could play in Salt Lake City alongside Jaromir Jagr?

They should be able to put somebody skilled next to him. I have yet to call 'Jagger'. He will laugh at me for sure, because I tripped over the line. He must have seen it on TV.

What will you do during your recovery?

They’ll let me out of the hospital right after the surgery. I’d like to go back home to the Czech Republic for a week or two. I’ll go to some hockey games, I’ll see some friends. I may even stop in the Motol hospital. I happen to know [the renowned Czech sport rehabilitation specialist Dr.] Pavel Kolar {http://www.fotbal.cz/gol/a/1999/1223/hok02.asp }, maybe I’ll be able to set up some rehab sessions in that hospital.

Tomas Jandik is the resident Czech on LetsGoPens.com and is a man who unifies all the goodies of the American dream - meaning, of course, being a Pitt graduate, a Razorback, and a Penguins fan.

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