THE seriousness of Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore’s hamstring strain will be more clearly assessed by medical staff at the USA’s training camp in Sao Paolo over the next 24 hours.
The big striker went down clutching his left leg in the 21st minute of America’s entertaining 2-1 victory over Ghana last night in the two countries’ opening game of the World Cup finals.
So sharply did Altidore pull up and go down and so obvious was his distress, it looked like a certain hamstring tear.
The initial diagnosis from the USA though is that it is a strain rather than a tear - an injury which still indicates a rip to the muscle but means that the hamstring has not come away from the bone.
Depending on the seriousness of the strain though, Altidore’s World Cup finals are still in jeopardy.
The USA’s next game is against Portugal on Sunday and the Black Cats’ frontman must be doubtful for that with the likelihood being if he continues at all, he will only be available from the knockout stages onwards.
A serious strain though could not only put an end to his involvement in Brazil but also sideline him for the start of Sunderland’s pre-season which is set to get underway in early July.
There is no official word from US Soccer other than it is a strain and will be assessed more thoroughly later today when the swelling and pain begin to subside.
Altidore himself commented afterwards: “I was sprinting and I felt something.
“We’ll see what happens.
“It was tough for me. I was crushed, because I knew right away I couldn’t go on.”
USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann meanwhile is putting a brave face on the setback and hoping for a swift return for the Sunderland striker.
“We hope it’s not too bad,” the German said.
We hope we’re going to get him back as soon as possible.”
Altidore’s fellow striker Clint Dempsey, who scored the USA’s first-minute opener said: “My heart goes out to him because he’s been working hard and he’s been looking sharp.
“You know how much he wanted to do well.
“You could see the tears in his eyes going back to the locker room. We wish him a speedy recovery. “He’s a big player for us. It hurts to have him go out of the game today but other players have to step up now.”
by Graeme Anderson