May 13, 2012, 9:20 PM EDT
Most media members and fans have accepted as fact that L.A. Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders had been enrolled in the league’s substance abuse program. No reason to doubt the unconfirmed reports; Saunders has been absent from the team since late April
Now the club has made it official, releasing a statement Sunday, according to this report from ESPN Los Angeles.
“Josh Saunders is currently in the league’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health program and will remain unavailable for the club indefinitely,” the statement said. “That program is administered by medical professionals appointed jointly by the league and the Players Union. Those medical professionals independently evaluate, treat, and determine the length of time that he will be in the program. The team does not control it.”
Saunders finished the 2011 season ahead of Donovan Ricketts, the club’s All-Star goalkeeper who was subsequently deemed expendable and traded to Vancouver. Saunders played every minute of 2012 until his late-April absence, which had gone unexplained by the club.
The Galaxy is winless in four matches (two losses, two ties) since Saunders’ departure.
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