When a surgeon sliced from Valeria Salazar’s knee to her ankle in May of 2015, he cut through her skin and a layer of tissue enclosing her muscle.Since her freshman year, Syracuse’s No. 2 singles player has dealt with pain in her lower leg and foot. No trainer offered a reason for the pain and instead, she sat on training tables for about an hour before her matches. She iced her legs and got massages before and after, her mother Lourdes Garza said.Last season, a trainer suggested Salazar might have compartment syndrome, which is when fascia, tissue around the muscle, grows too tight and prevents the muscle from contracting. Three doctors then diagnosed her with a form of compartment syndrome caused by exercise. The last doctor sent her to have a procedure meant to fix the condition.By slicing her leg open, the surgeon relieved the pressure in her leg and the injury’s stranglehold on her career.“I was practicing during winter break and that was the first time where I was actually practicing three, four hours per day without symptoms,” Salazar said, “and that hadn’t happened before.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSalazar, a junior, is one of three Syracuse (7-1) players returning to the team this season. Nearly the whole roster is new and while head coach Younes Limam doesn’t have captains, Salazar may be the closest SU gets to having one. Occasionally, she’ll lead stretches and give the team some direction. Salazar is 11-4 this season after having finished below .500 over two seasons.While she’s not 100 percent yet, she’s getting there. So far, Salazar has only missed one singles match this season after not playing for three months because of her surgery. Now, she moves forward without the pain of a syndrome that sometimes numbed her legs, making it difficult to climb stairs and run. Though she didn’t play professionally, she continued her career at Syracuse after moving from Mexico to New Jersey solely for tennis.“I feel more comfortable on the court because (last season) maybe I feel so bad because I can’t run,” Salazar said, “or sometimes I lose and I can’t move. So I felt a lot of pressure from that, not playing my best.”Salazar moved from Mexico, where she started playing tennis young, to the United States when she was 14. She won one of her first national tournaments when she was 10 years old. The International Tennis Federation selected her to participate in tournaments in South America and Europe when she was 13 and 14, respectively. Eventually, she outgrew the little competition Mexico had, Garza said.“She knew all the girls,” Garza said. “Every tournament was the same girls. Here you have more tournaments.” The lack of competition pushed Salazar’s parents to move for her tennis career, so the then-14-year-old spent a month in the U.S. without her parents playing at CourtSense, a facility in New Jersey, as a trial run. When she returned home temporarily, Salazar told her mom how she lived in the Garden State because her home in Mexico was mostly surrounded by a desert climate.The U.S., Garza said, has better facilities, more players and improved instruction. Salazar practiced on a bigger variety of courts in the U.S., including hard surfaces, clay, green clay and grass.Traveling to tournaments and practicing took up so much of Salazar’s time that she had to be home schooled. Salazar was serious and shy, she said, and didn’t make many friends in New Jersey. About once each month she’d play a tournament, the main source of friends.But Salazar started dealing with shin splints and plantar fasciitis that threatened to take that away. Every two weeks, she was injured and felt she couldn’t play professionally.“It was a really sad time for her,” Saul Salazar, her father, said.Salazar gave up all her friends from Mexico to move to the U.S. to play tennis. She did little outside of tennis practice, traveling and home school and called it “kind of boring.”Upon arriving at Syracuse, Salazar struggled initially with school because she spoke mostly Spanish at home with her parents. She had attended an American school in Mexico and spoke English there, but she wasn’t forced to speak English the way she was at SU. Sometimes she would call her mother to talk Spanish at night. Being home schooled, she didn’t have to go to classes. At SU she did.Last season, Salazar realized she couldn’t run a mile anymore, Garza said. During one match, Garza recalled her daughter trying to play but a trainer told her she shouldn’t. For the only time in Salazar’s career, according to Garza, she lost because she had to pull out of a match.Her time at Syracuse was being marred by injuries the same way her professional career had been. To diagnose the then-sophomore she had scans, an X-ray and MRIs performed to rule out other injuries. A needle test determined the pressure in her fascia was too high.That prompted her surgery in May of 2015. After sitting out for three months afterward, Salazar has slowly worked back. Her legs have moved her forward, allowing her to go 11-4 so far this season. They’re no longer setting her back.“She’s been so much better right now,” her father said, “and she’s playing so much better.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Katherine Sotelo | Staff Photographer Published on February 24, 2016 at 1:13 am Contact Chris: email@example.com | @ChrisLibonati
“It isn’t going to be an issue going forward,” he said. Anderson had two stints on the 60-day disabled list in 2014; the other came when he was hit on the index finger during batting practice, a freak injury that is easier to dismiss. When healthy, Anderson had a 2.91 ERA in 43 1/3 innings for the Colorado Rockies last season.Anderson’s potential to exceed his 2014 production in a pitcher’s park made the signing more palatable for the Dodgers. “With all the additional information we have,” Zaidi said, “we feel confident.”The Dodgers’ 2015 rotation is basically set: Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brandon McCarthy and Anderson will be the quintet when healthy. Joe Wieland (acquired in the Matt Kemp trade with San Diego) and Mike Bolsinger (acquired from Arizona) are the only in-house candidates Zaidi mentioned to step in if injuries strike. That means the Dodgers are out on marquee free agents Max Scherzer and James Shields. “You never say never, but we have no plans to pursue those guys,” Zaidi said, referring generally to pitchers expected to command a nine-figure salary.To make room for Anderson on the 40-man roster, Erisbel Arruebarrena was designated for assignment. The shortstop saw limited action in the majors last year and was projected to begin 2015 at Triple-A following the trades for shortstop Jimmy Rollins and second baseman Howie Kendrick. Zaidi said Arruebarrena might remain in the organization. It depends on whether the “three to five” teams who previously discussed Arruebarrena in a trade are willing to come back to the table.Either way, the Dodgers are still on the hook for the remainder of the five-year, $25 million contract Arruebarrena signed last year. It would be foolish for Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi to expect 200 innings from his fifth starter next season. Left-hander Brett Anderson, whose one-year contract was finalized Tuesday, has never pitched more than 176 innings in a season. Zaidi knows that. He can run the projections and realize the Dodgers are gambling a bit. “Projection models are only useful if you have no other information,” Zaidi said on a conference call Wednesday. “We have other information.”Anderson’s physical took time to review, but not because of his health. It was a logistical hold-up, Zaidi said, the kind that comes with doing business around holidays. The ruptured disk in Anderson’s back has healed since September. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
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