By DAVE MARTINEZ
Thing are not getting any easier for Rafa Marquez.
After missing more than half of the New York Red Bulls' matches this season battling injury and disciplinary problems, the Mexican veteran will now likely be out for the beginning stages of World Cup qualifying and possibly beyond with a right thigh injury stemming from a collision in practice.
Mexican national team doctor José Luis Serrano told reporters that he has a muscular distal injury in his right thigh and that an MRI revealed a Grade 1 separation of fibers that will require rehabilitation.
The collision happened on Monday, causing Marquez to miss training for the following two days. This will mark the second time in as many years that the Mexican defender has been injured while with the national team. Last year, his injuries caused him to miss significant time with the Red Bulls.
Serrano did not specify the length of time it would take for the injury to heal, nor did he speculate on a return to play for this cycle of qualifiers; however, the picture he painted looked quite grim.
“I can’t say exactly," Serrano said. "It is a very difficult region. It’s the region where you practically exert the most strength when you shoot or hit the ball. Therefore it is more dangerous. We have to be very careful. Until he starts training, we can’t realistically evaluate if he is ready to play.”
Mexico will continue with its run of friendlies as they take on Bosnia and Herzegovina at Soldier Field in Chicago Thursday night, followed by Brazil on Sunday at a sold-out Cowboys Stadium in Dallas before beginning World Cup qualifying against Guyana and El Salvador on June 8 and 12, respectively. Marquez will stay with the national team through the June qualifiers, undergoing rehabilitation before being reevaluated this week. The Red Bulls don't return to action in league play until June 17, when they face the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park.
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