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Lambert out of opener

VOLLEYBALL: Costa Mesa resident, Olympic hopeful, will sit out opener of AVP tour, beginning today in Miami.

April 11, 2008|By Soraya Nadia McDonald

Lambert played through his knee problems last season and underwent corrective surgery in November when his doctor, Mission Viejo-based William Schobert, discovered cartilage was flaking off his knee. Schobert is the same doctor who treated current women’s world champion Misty May-Treanor and former AVP star Karch Kiraly, who retired last year at age 46.

“By Karch’s calendar, I’ve still got a good 10 years left,” said Lambert, 33.

Lambert went through rehabilitation, but the same problem recurred, and he had a second surgery in February.

He’s now recovering from the latest surgery with physical therapy, weight-lifting, and Bikram yoga.

“It certainly does not help our cause for the Olympics,” said Lambert, who is aiming to play six FIVB events this season as he and Metzger try to catch Gibb and Rosenthal. The team will start international play either May 6 at the Prague Open, or May 13 at the Italian Open.

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Lambert knows he’s staring at a tall order, competing heavily on both tours and trying to make the Olympics.

“In Steino’s words, if we do qualify, we’ll be such lords,” Lambert said.

Metzger espoused the difficulties toward the end of the off-season.

“It’s extremely hard,” he said. “You’re flying back and forth across the Atlantic. You’re dead tired. You’re in a different time zone. You play some of these matches and all you want to do is go to sleep because of the time zone difference. You just have to force it, and that’s how you decide the Olympics, playing those kinds of matches.”

Still, the road to Beijing may be paved with a bit of scheming.

Lambert and Metzger plan to play in the Moscow Grand Slam, the last grand slam event before the July 20 cutoff date for Olympic qualifying. They elected to miss the Klagenfurt Grand Slam last year, where Rogers and Dalhausser and Gibb and Rosenthal both played, to play in the AVP’s Chicago Open.

This year, the Moscow Grand Slam is the same weekend as the AVP Boulder tournament. Lambert and Metzger are hoping Rogers and Dalhausser and Gibb and Rosenthal will skip Moscow, leaving Lambert and Metzger a (somewhat) clearer path to a high finish there.

“We’ll see if it pays off,” Lambert said. “It’s kind of a gamble. Those guys might decide to play anyway, and make us look dumb.”

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