Brazil's captain Bruno Rezende came back after injury scare
Katowice, Poland, September 8, 2014 - The pain of watching his team struggle from the sideline was almost as bad as the pain he felt when he jammed his finger on a team-mate's foot at the end of Brazil's 3-0 Pool B win over Tunisia, but Brazil captain Bruno Rezende made a big winning return to action against Cuba and is now looking forward to the second round of the competition.
When Bruno suffered the injury to his right hand, he initially thought the worst; that his FIVB Men's World Championship was over. "The journey to the hospital was a little tense, because I didn't know what had happened," he said. "The pain in that moment was severe, I couldn't hold anything because it was hurting, but after the X-ray I was a bit more relaxed."
While the X-ray revealed no break, the doctor made it clear Bruno had to spend a couple of days without playing while the bruising and swelling decreased, and that included Brazil's nail-biting 3-2 win over Korea in their penultimate Pool B match.
Despite taping his hand up and putting on his uniform to lead the team out for the match, his brief was just to observe and encourage from the sideline, a role he certainly didn't find easy.
"It was difficult, because you want to help," he said. "You want to go on and turn it around in a difficult moment, but I couldn't and I was annoyed. But I knew the hand would improve with each game, so I couldn't run the risk of returning before it was ready."
After receiving some acupuncture treatment on the advice of the doctor from the Korea team, and with Brazil a set down and trailing Cuba mid-way through the second set on Sunday night, Bruno was ready and eager to answer the call and Bernardinho summoned him from the bench.
Within minutes he had scored a blocking point off his injured right hand to get Brazil back in contention and they never looked back, going on to win the match 3-1.
"I was preparing like I would play," he said about the Cuba match, and after his sideline frustration against Korea, he loved the chance to spark his team-mates into action. "I'm a guy that is very charged, off or on the court I try to motivate the team, this is my role, my characteristic, it's always like that."
The original plan was only for him to make a small contribution, entering in the rotation along with opposite Leandro Vissotto, but his presence had a big effect and he stayed on. "When we entered it started getting a bit better for us, but if I hadn't been feeling good, I wouldn't have played more."
Bruno admitted that after three strong matches to start the tournament, Brazil had faltered against Korea and Cuba, losing concentration and making too many mistakes which made life more difficult than it needed to be.
"This was learned," he said of his team. "In this second phase, we can't wobble the same way we have in these last two games, but the important thing I saw [in these matches] is that the team showed it is a team, we're 14 players and everybody was used."
After finishing top of Pool B and carrying over a maximum nine points into the second stage of the tournament, Brazil's next two matches are against Bulgaria and China on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, and their captain and his team will be ready.