Pickens begins long road back from broken arm

Goalkeeper returned to the stadium to start small arm strengthening exercises following surgery

Matt Pickens holds broken arm on March 6, 2013

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The trainer's room inside the Rapids locker room on Wednesday was unfortunately too full.

Pablo Mastroeni (quad), Martin Rivero (foot), Jaime Castrillon (knee), and Diego Calderon (knee) were all receiving treatment when they were joined by goalkeeper Matt Pickens, who returned to the stadium for the first time since breaking his forearm against Real Salt Lake on March 6.

In the 6th minute of the match, Pickens left his line to punch away a corner kick from his right when he and RSL defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe collided. He knew what happened right away.

"It was nothing dirty or any malice to it, just kind of one of those weird plays," Pickens told ColoradoRapids.com of the collission. "He hit my left arm and I felt a pop when it happened and I knew it was broken when I hit the ground. I just didn't know how bad it was."

Pickens was taken to a Salt Lake hospital where he learned the severity of the injury.

"We did the X-rays and found out that both of my bones (radius and ulna) were broken," he said. "I had the surgery that night and had two plates and twelve screws put in."

The team's 2012 Most Valuable Player expressed his gratitude to RSL team physician, Dr. Andrew Cooper, who performed the operation.

"Dr. Cooper was great with me," Pickens said. "He could've waited until the morning...so hats off to him to round up his staff and to do my surgery that night right after it happened. And to make me feel more comfortable as well."

Pickens stay home last week while the pain subsided. On Wednesday he removed the splint to see the stitching on his forearm for the first time and to begin the long process back.

"Today my rehab starts," he said. "I'm starting to get my range of motion going and do some small strengthening exercises. I'm just playing a waiting game now."

He'll be in a splint for the next few weeks and await the medical team's instructions as to how to proceed. But his mind is already on playing later this season.

"I want to be around more and start to do some cardio to try to stay fit so when I do come back I can hit the ground running." he said of his immediate plan. "Unfortunately for me, being a goalkeeper, there's that other side where I need to make sure it's fully healed and ready to go before I get back to start training and playing."

Pickens is facing an between 3-4 months of rehabilitation.