11 Images

Chance encounter

Mohammed Malek, 18, who lost both legs three years ago when he stepped on land mines in Afghanistan, was brought to Loma Linda Medical Center for treatment in November. He is recovering in his apartment in Loma Linda from the surgery that strengthened what remains of his legs so that his prosthetics will fit properly. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
In an office at Loma Linda, Mohammed rests his hands on the stumps that used to be his legs. “I played [soccer] in Afghanistan, and when I get new legs I will play again,” he said through an interpreter. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Even though he is unable to stand, Mohammed attends a mosque in Redlands for Friday prayers with other Muslims. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Mohammed is greeted by Mark Ward, the U.S. Foreign Service officer who met the teenager in Kabul and arranged to have him treated at Loma Linda. Behind them is Dick Weismeyer of Loma Linda University. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Mark Ward looks at a photo showing him, at right, and Mohammed when the two met in Kabul a few years ago. The boy was then using ill-fitting prosthetics that cut his legs. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Google Earth
Mohammed looks at a Google Earth satellite view of his neighborhood in Afghanistan. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Mark Ward jogs along with Mohammed on a sidewalk in Loma Linda. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Breathing machine
A week after surgery to shorten, smooth and strengthen the remnants of his jagged femurs, Malek breathes into a device to exercise his lungs. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
In a rare display of pain, the usually happy Mohammed winces while Roy Capriulo, an orthopedic technician, checks the metal staples holding an incision. Dr. Christopher M. Jobes had operated on the teen several days earlier. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
In bed
Mohammed recovers in his apartment. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Motorized wheelchair
Mohammed zips along in his motorized wheelchair near his Loma Linda apartment. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)