The 2013 San Jose Earthquakes season is almost upon us and there are more injuries to the squad than we'd like to report with only two weeks until First Kick. There are several players recovering from off-season surgery, including Bash Brothers Alan Gordon (hip) and Steven Lenhart (knee), as well as Steven Beitashour (sports hernia), Mehdi Ballouchy (knee) and Cesar Diaz Pizarro (knee).
However, none is more surprising to the fans than the recently reported (and by many accounts devastating) 'injury' to Steven Lenhart's resplendent curls. Conspiracy theorists wonder if the Earthquakes are attempting to keep this particular injury under wraps with reduced media access at the team's training sessions this season. Media inquiries have not been returned and fans have seen neither hide nor hair of Lenhart who has been curiously absent from the Earthquakes preseason videos.
The first inkling that something is up with Lenny's 'do came from pre-season reports from the fans themselves - and thanks are due to Agent Hendricks, who was alert enough to capture these undercover shots exclusively for Quake Rattle and Goal. Working in extreme conditions, our spotter was able to get the first covert snaps under difficult circumstances in a far flung top-secret location (just off US Route 1 in Santa Barbara).
The night vision image is the first capture of the rear aspect - despite the attempt to hide the damage with a head band, we see the first clue that all is not as curly as it once was. The second shows that this wasn't just a bad hair day - the long range telephoto shot is confirmation of what QRG's Robert Jonas had previously described as "a curly blonde fade". These first indications are of an Eraserhead meets Cosmo Kramer coiffure - appropriate for Steven Lenhart, for whom there's always a lot going on up top.
These pictures might make our own hair stand on end, but spare a thought for the Earthquakes photographers, many of whom have been weeping openly at the news that Lenny hasn't kept his hair on. They have packed away their portrait lenses in favor of long telephotos, knowing there would be no more opportunity for resplendent, back-lit head shots before the game - Lenhart's luxuriant curls shimmering in the sunset.
So, until Lenny curly locks grow back to their full splendor, it will be back to the more conventional portfolio of action shots: Wondo scoring goal after goal after goal, Salinas and Chavez speeding down the wings, and Victor Bernardez growling in the face of opposing forwards, enforcing the defensive zone. Yes, the same old, same old customary images of the current holders of the Supporters' Shield doing their work: winning games.