- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 1, 2001

It's beginning to look doubtful star D.C. United midfielder Ben Olsen will play at all this season.

Olsen is scheduled to see Dr. John Moynahan, a Baltimore-based physician, tomorrow to determine what is wrong with his troublesome right ankle.

The 23-year-old Olsen ran Monday for the first time in weeks and experienced pain in the ankle. Olsen, a mainstay on the U.S. national team, suspects he may have a stress fracture that went undetected when he initially broke his right ankle in February while on loan to English First Division club Nottingham Forest.

United's sixth season ends Sept. 15, and Olsen doesn't know whether the next 45 days will give him enough time to heal.

"There's no question I'm running out of time," Olsen said. "It's been tough. This has been a tough time in my life not to be able to exercise and compete. If [my return] happens, it happens. If not, it gives me more time to get it right. I've got to focus right now on getting this thing 100 percent. There is no sense in waiting this long and then rushing back."

Trying to come back too soon is what caused Olsen's latest setback. On June 23, Olsen was loaned to the A-League's Hershey Wildcats, a United affiliate, and played 59 minutes in a double-overtime scoreless draw against the Connecticut Wolves. Immediately following that match, Olsen said both of his ankles felt sore.

Until Monday, Olsen had not practiced or run since that game. In late March, Olsen had a second operation to clean out bone chips from his left ankle, but he says that ankle is fine.

Today Olsen will have a bone scan of his right ankle, and he will take the images to Moynahan tomorrow.

"I tried it Monday, and it didn't feel right, so now we are going to bring in a specialist," Olsen said. "It's different than the pain I've had with other ankle injuries. I could deal with that stuff."

United (6-12-1) certainly could use Olsen. Olsen is a tireless worker on the flanks and can play on either side. In his four-year United career, the Virginia product has 10 goals and 22 assists in Major League Soccer play and was named MVP of the 1999 MLS Cup.

Meanwhile, United forward Abdul Thompson Conteh is out to prove Miami Fusion coach Ray Hudson wrong tonight when United takes on the first-place Fusion (12-3-4) at RFK Stadium. Hudson did not select Conteh for the East All-Stars in Saturday's MLS All-Star Game.

Among MLS' top-10 scorers, Conteh was the only one missing from the league's midseason showcase. Conteh is tied for seventh in the league with 19 points on nine goals and one assist. Just two players Miami's Diego Serna (12 goals) and Colorado's John Spencer (11 goals) have scored more goals than Conteh.

"The top-10 goal scorers made it to the All-Star Game, and I'm one of them, so what happened?" Conteh said. "I intend on catching [Serna and Spencer] in the near future. I get penalized for scoring goals. I won't stop. I have the All-Star coach coming to town."

Note United finalized a site and time for its U.S. Open Cup semifinal against the New England Revolution. United will play the Revolution on Aug. 22 at Foxboro Stadium with kickoff set for 8 p.m. The game will be televised by Fox Sports World.

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