JOZY Altidore expects to discover today the seriousness of the hamstring strain which halted his World Cup finals only 21 minutes after they had begun.
Just 20 minutes after Clint Dempsey opened the scoring against Ghana with the sixth fastest goal in World Cup history, Altidore was being stretchered off the field and into an uncertain immediate future.
The way the Sunderland striker went down as if shot as he chased a long ball down field - clutching his left hamstring in agony as he fell - suggested a hamstring tear, with the muscle pulling away from the bone.
But the word from the US camp immediately after the game was that it was a hamstring strain - a less serious injury but one which was still a ripped muscle and could sideline him for weeks.
Medical staff at the USA’s training camp in Sao Paolo have had to wait for the pain, swelling and discolouration to subside before being able to offer a more detailed diagnosis in the wake of the States’ stirring 2-1 victory over Ghana.
But despite efforts to remain upbeat about the injury, it seems certain that he will miss the USA’s game against Portugal at the very least and the likelihood is that if he does feature at all in these finals again, it will not be until the knockout stages at the earliest.
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 under way in early July.
Altidore was visibly limping as the USA left the ground after the game, clutching on to a metal rail for support as he headed towards the team bus.
He commented: “I was sprinting and I felt something but 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 attempted to put a brave face on the setback, 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.”
Dempsey, meanwhile, expressed his sympathies for his team-mate.
“My heart goes out to him because he’s been working hard and he’s been looking sharp,” said the former Fulham favourite.
“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 but other players have to step up now.”