Stamenkovic's injury grounds ex-Blast star


LANDOVER -- There were no tricks this time. The Magician was a no-show.

Stan Stamenkovic, who dazzled crowds with his footwork as a Blast star in the 1980s, was scheduled to play for the San Jose Grizzlies against the Washington Warthogs in a Continental Indoor Soccer League game last night at USAir Arena.

Stamenkovic arrived from the former Yugoslavia this week with a strained thigh muscle that was worse than coach Bob McNab expected. As a result, Stamenkovic didn't make the three-game road trip.

"He'll be out a week to 10 days," McNab said of the 38-year-old, who was the Blast's MVP several times and the Major Soccer League MVP in 1983-84. "At Stan's age, the parts start to fall off. He always did look like the trainer, out of shape . . . until the game started."

Stamenkovic helped lead the Blast to its only title (1983-84) and had 130 goals and 199 assists in his Baltimore career, despite struggling throughout with weight and knee problems.

Stamenkovic had been playing soccer in his native country twice a week in various leagues, but, McNab said, "I don't know at what level."

Stamenkovic, who last played in the MSL in 1988, accompanied two young players from the former Yugoslavia, Branislav Lecic and Dragan Novakovic, to San Jose. McNab's plan was to use Stamenkovic in spots.

"This game takes learning, but Stan doesn't need teaching and would have made an immediate impact," McNab said.

"He would provide another dimension. This is a bit of blow. We're not sure when he'll be back, and our regular season ends Sept. 3."

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