Ali Krieger not giving up on '12 Games

Updated: January 23, 2012, 4:20 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Despite the long odds, U.S. defender Ali Krieger feels she still has a shot at playing in the London Olympics.

Walking on crutches, Krieger spoke to reporters for the first time Sunday since tearing the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in her right knee during an Olympic qualifying match.

Krieger
Krieger

Krieger said she plans to fly home Monday so she can have her surgery as soon as possible. Her rehabilitation time is expected to be six to eight months, which likely rules her out for the Summer Games in London.

"I'm not going to give up," she said after watching her U.S. teammates beat Guatemala 13-0. "I'm not going to lose hope. Everyone's different. And people who have had this said everything's different -- some people have gotten back in four months, some people have gotten back in nine, a year. But I'm going to stay hopeful, stay positive. I'm strong. I'm a fighter. I think I'm going to come back stronger than ever."

Krieger was hurt in the first half of the Americans' 14-0 win over the Dominican Republic on Friday. She said she knew it was bad but didn't know how severe until the MRI came back Saturday.

"I didn't know it was my ACL," Krieger said. "It didn't feel that bad but I knew something obviously was wrong with that much pain."

The 27-year-old Krieger was making her 27th appearance for the U.S. team and has become a stalwart at right back, playing every minute of all six World Cup matches last summer.

"I'm really sad for her," coach Pia Sundhage said. "She helped the team and she had a very good World Cup. That's tough for her but at the end of the day we can't do anything about it. The next step is to move on and find someone who can replace her."

Heather Mitts entered Friday's game at right back after Krieger's injury, but Sundhage said Kelley O'Hara was also a candidate to take the starting job. With six months until the Olympics, Sundhage said Krieger's replacement might not be on the current roster.

Krieger watched Sunday's game from a suite, dealing with the emotions as best she could.

"I'm OK," she said. "You know, it's up and down. It comes in waves. Pretty emotional. It's been pretty draining the past few days, obviously. Obviously I want to be playing. Who doesn't?"

Information from ESPN.com's Jim Caple and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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