Brendan Mundorf, the 2012 Major League Lacrosse MVP and the leading American scorer in the NLL last spring, is aiming for a return to the floor with the Philadelphia Wings sometime in March, he says. After tearing ligaments in his left ankle leading up to MLL’s championship weekend last August, and just days after being named the league’s most valuable player, Mundorf spent the majority of the title game on the Denver Outlaws’ sideline. After the MLL season, he underwent what he described as a “pretty serious surgery” to essentially reconstruct his injured right ankle. Mundorf was placed on Philadelphia’s physically-unable-to-perform list.
“Right now, I’m just rehabbing the ankle injury I suffered at the end of the MLL season,” Mundorf said. “I’ve been working out and it’s going well. I’m not ready to play lacrosse yet, but hopefully I’m back sometime in March, but that all depends on how I progress. I’m not counting my eggs before I put them in that basket. … You have to focus on getting better first before you focus on any making any contributions to any team. So my main focus is to try to take care of my ankle. It’s been progressing quickly.”
His 68 points on 28 goals and 40 assists was good for 16th best in the NLL last season. Mundorf said he went to the home opener of the Wings last weekend against Buffalo, and he’s optimistic about what the team can do this year.
“They looked athletic and just watching warmups, you can see it’s a very big team,” said Mundorf, a Maryland native who played college lacrosse at UMBC. “It seems like every body is six-foot tall or more. A lot of big, strong, fast guys. I think it’s different than a lot of teams. I think the pure size and speed will give some teams some trouble, especially with our defense. They can get the ball out of the back end fast.”
A player familiar with many members of the Wings roster, especially the Americans, Mundorf was a key part of Team USA’s gold medal victory at the World Lacrosse Championships in 2010.
As one of only a handful of Americans to truly thrive as an offensive player in the NLL in recent seasons, Mundorf said he’s well aware of how hard it is for anyone to land a roster spot in the league, and said he is pushing himself to return to the same trajectory he was on before his ankle injury. As a rookie in 2007, Mundorf put up 44 points. He increased his production just about each season, save the 2011 season; he took the 2010 NLL season off to prepare for the world field championships that year. His 50 points in 2011 represented just a slight dip for Mundorf; but then in 2012, he tied his career best for goals with 28 and put up his best assists total so far with 40.
For his career, Mundorf now has 118 goals and 149 assists. If opposing teams didn’t respect him before last season, certainly he earned that on March 23 with a monstrous five-goal, four-assist effort in a 13-12 win over the Colorado Mammoth, which included the game winning tally with just four seconds on the clock.
“I have high expectations for myself more so just because I’ve been able to play at a certain level,” Mundorf told ILIndoor.com this week. “I don’t really don’t consider being American having anything to do with it, but I know what I’m capable of while playing indoor. I want to get back to the level. I’m excited to see where it goes and to see how I’m going to fit in the overall scheme of the team. … I know most of those guys and I’m friends with a lot of them.”
When asked if he had plans to try out for Team USA to compete in the 2014 World Lacrosse Championships, Mundorf said he is definitely planning on doing so.
“I’m not trying to look past anything else, but I do have (the 2014 field championships) in my sights,” he said. “I want to be healthy for it and be prepared for it. I want to do everything I need to do as far as indoor and outdoor, but also try to do everything in a manner so that I’m preparing for those world games.”
Additionally, Wings transition player Max Seibald, another field standout, is hoping to return to the floor with the Wings in late February. As first reported by ILIndoor.com, Seibald was placed on the PUP after suffering a broken foot — specifically, an injury known as The Jones Fracture.
In a text message to Inside Lacrosse, Seibald confirmed that he is targeting Philadelphia’s Feb. 23 contest against the Rochester Knighthawks as his return date. He was seen on crutches this past weekend at the US Lacrosse Convention, but told members of the Inside Lacrosse staff he’s optimistic about the speed of his recovery and said he expects to be on the floor next month. The standout two-way player chipped in five goals, nine assists and 77 looseballs for the Wings last season.
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