Onyewu returns to training with U.S.

Oguchi Onyewu returned Thursday to training with the U.S. national

team for the first time since knee surgery Oct. 21.

The AC Milan defender, trying to get back into playing shape

ahead of the World Cup, worked out for about 30 minutes as players

prepared for next week’s exhibition against El Salvador.

He participated in 5 vs. 2 and possession drills, U.S. team

spokesman Michael Kammarman said.

Onyewu, a 27-year-old from Olney, Md., ruptured the patellar

tendon in his left knee during the Americans’ final World Cup

qualifier, against Costa Rica on Oct. 14.

At the time of surgery, the U.S. Soccer Federation medical

staff estimated he would be able to resume training in March and be

sidelined a total of six months.

Onyewu planned to train with the team again Friday and will

remain in California for his rehabilitation until he is ready to

rejoin AC Milan, Kammarman said.

The U.S. team – all but one from Major League Soccer –

travels to Florida on Sunday for Wednesday’s game. After that,

Europe-based players will be added for a March 3 exhibition against

the Netherlands in Amsterdam. That is the last match before U.S.

coach Bob Bradley selects his 23-man World Cup roster.

Onyewu left Belgium’s Standard Liege to sign with AC Milan

last summer but he appeared in just one of the club’s 10

competitive matches this season before getting hurt.