American defender Oguchi Onyewu will be sidelined for six months following surgery to repair a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee, a layoff that could jeopardize his appearance in next year’s World Cup.
After Onyewu was injured in last week’s World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica, the U.S. Soccer Federation originally projected his recovery at three to four months.
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The federation issued a new estimate of six months on Thursday, a day after national team physician Dr. Bert Mandelbaum operated on Onyewu for one hour in Los Angeles.
That gives Onyewu little time to regain his form ahead of the World Cup, which opens June 11 in South Africa.
The 27-year-old Onyewu signed with AC Milan last summer but he appeared in just one of the club’s 10 competitive matches this season before getting hurt.
AC Milan chief executive officer Adriano Galliani said last week the club hopes to receive compensation from the U.S. federation because of the injury.
Watford’s Jay DeMerit, another U.S. central defender, is sidelined following a cornea replacement operation last weekend. Forward Charlie Davies is likely to miss the World Cup after sustaining serious injuries, including several broken bones, in a car crash last week.