Men's competition, Espinho
From 2 June To 6 June 2004

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Injury crisis forces Maia-Brenha out of Portugal Open
Espinho, Portugal, June 4, 2004 - Portuguese superstars Joao Brenha and Miguel Maia were forced to pull out of the 2004, Swatch - FIVB World Tour Portugal Open on Friday following an ankle injury to Joao Brenha. Brenha, who badly sprained his ankle during a training session on Thursday, failed to recover in time for Friday's order of play and the 34-year-old was bitterly disappointed at having to turn his back on the team's home tournament.

In a statement issued by the Portuguese Volleyball Federation, the latest situation was explained. "Unfortunately Joao Brehna has a serious injury and the team shall not continue its participation in the Portugal Open in Espinho."

The statement continued,"Both players are very disappointed because they wanted to play in this, the tenth anniversary of the Open of Espinho and in what would have been the team's 100th Open event. In Espinho, Joao Brenha and Miguel Maia have never ceased to be fanatically supported by the public."

Finishing fourth twice at back-to-back Olympic Games, firstly in Atlanta in 1996 and then in Sydney in 2000, Maia and Brenha became household names in Portugal and the injury to Brenha will have caused panic to the team's multitude of fans throughout the country. Fears that the side would miss the forthcoming Olympic Games were quickly dispelled within the statement issued by the Portuguese Volleyball Federation which read, "We would like to stress that team Maia-Brenha's presence at the Olympic Games is not in doubt. Joao Brenha is trying to recover as quickly as possible and is eager to begin training and playing again so that the team can compete in the most spectacular sporting competition in the world, the Olympic Games.

Brenha will undergo surgery for damaged ligaments within the coming days and is expected to take up to six weeks to fully recover from the injury. "Joao Brenha will be operated on as soon as possible. In four weeks he will be much improved and after six weeks he will have fully recovered," the statement read.

Asked for his opinion on the unfortunate matter, Miguel Maia stated, "I am very sad for Joao and for the people of Espinho. It is not a good situation for our team to be in. In order to stay in peak condition, I will compete on the national circuit with Rogerio Lopes during Joao Brenha's recovery period."