HANOVER, N. J -- New York Red Bulls central defender Ronald Zubar was so eager to get on the field and finally be over his nagging quadriceps injury that he returned home to France for treatment that was sometimes shocking. Literally.
Signed this offseason following a career that included extended spells in England and France, Zubar's played just three games in league play this year, his last on June 28 in a 3-1 win over New York City F.C. In July he spent nearly four weeks in France where he was scanned and probed from head-to-toe, including to see if he had a food allergy that might be hampering his healing process. It has been a long road back to say the least.
His first injury, suffered during the season opener in March, was to his hamstring and was supposed to sideline him just a week. Then there was a subsequent quadriceps injury a few days later that took weeks to heal. He returned for a U.S. Open Cup match and then the derby win in late June and it was thought he was on the rebound. But he left that match at halftime and headed to France to see a specialist in his homeland.
After the battery of tests and scans, a form of treatment was recommended as a way to help Zubar's quadriceps injury heal in a more efficient fashion.
Five times while in France he underwent a process where a needle was stuck into his leg for about 20 minutes and from the needle came jolts of electricity. It is a painful procedure.
"I never knew about the therapy before it, I wasn't aware of it," Zubar told Metro. "The idea is that you have a scar tissue when you get hurt. With the needles, you also burn the scar tissue. The electricity goes right into the middle of the injury and makes a new fiber. You heal better."
There are things he can do to help his muscles, such as going gluten-free and cutting out dairy.
"These are things they think that can affect my muscles more than others," he added.
He's also doing more daily strengthening exercises for his legs, including new types of stretching.
"We try to be on top of everything," Zubar said. "The good thing is that we as a team are in a good way, we don't need to rush me back, so I can heal and hopefully get completely better. But with the playoffs - they are almost here and I want to be back and help the team hopefully do some good things."