SAO PAULO (AP) — Jurgen Klinsmann is optimistic forward Jozy Altidore will return for the U.S. during this World Cup.
Altidore underwent an MRI exam on his injured left hamstring Tuesday after the U.S. squad returned to its Sao Paulo headquarters from Monday night’s 2-1 victory against Ghana.
Results weren’t immediately available, and there is some doubt because hamstrings aren’t always quick to heal.
“With Jozy, we’ve got to see how he now reacts the next couple days with his hamstring, and we’re full of hope that he comes back still in this tournament, and that’s what we kind of work on every day,” Klinsmann said. “The medical staff is doing a tremendous job (for) weeks, so we still have to hope that Jozy will be back. How quickly? That is down to his healing process.”
In the first half Monday, Altidore was running down a ball with Ghana’s John Boye when he lowered his head to attempt to control it. He immediately grabbed the back of his left leg and fell to the ground in pain. He was replaced by Aron Johannsson.
“Obviously we all hope he’ll be all right,” midfielder Alejandro Bedoya said. “I’m sure if he’s able to work hard we’re going to get him back. We have players that can play different roles and come in and do a job. Last night we had two subs come in and add something to the game. Aron is a good player and I think he did well last night under the circumstances. It was hard to get him the ball.”
The Americans’ next Group G match is Sunday at Manaus against Portugal, a 4-0 loser to Germany.
Central defender Matt Besler was replaced at halftime as a precaution with right hamstring tightness, and he also underwent tests Tuesday. Klinsmann said his injury wasn’t serious and he would be fine for Sunday.
Captain Clint Dempsey broke his nose but is expected to play Sunday against Portugal in Manaus.
“Maybe he has the option if he wants a mask on,” Klinsmann said. “I don’t know how much a mask can protect him. Whatever he feels good with. I think a broken nose, yes, it was tricky during the game. He barely could breathe. He struggled with that. But once it’s broken, it’s broken. It will take time to heal completely. But unfortunately, it’s also part of our game. He’s going to be all right.”
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