Photo by Matt Ersted/ISIPhotos.com
By IVES GALARCEP
CARSON, Calif.–Landon Donovan winced in pain as he tried putting pressure on his left knee, and as he walked gingerly toward the LA Galaxy locker room after Saturday's 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake, it appeared less and less likely that he would make his return to the U.S. national team for next week's crucial World Cup qualifiers.
After the match, Donovan said his knee would be evaluated as soon as possible, and said it was "TBD (To Be Determined)" whether he would join the national team for the upcoming training camp ahead of qualifiers against Antigua & Barbuda (Friday) and Guatemala (Oct. 16th).
Donovan came down awkwardly after taking a left-footed shot from the left flank and then planting his left foot in the ground in a way that left him writhing in pain afterward. He left the match soon after and could be seen limping toward the locker room after the match.
"As soon as possible," Donovan said when asked when he would have his left knee evaluated. "I'm not sure when, but as soon as possible."
When asked if the injury put him out of the upcoming qualifiers, Donovan said "TBD."
If Donovan is forced the miss the upcoming USMNT qualifiers, it would mark the second set of qualifiers he has been forced to miss due to injury. He missed the U.S. qualifiers against Jamaica in September as he recovered from a hamstring injury he suffered while on national team duty against Mexico in August.
The severity of the injury suffered on Saturday is still not known, but when asked if he heard a pop when the injury happened Donovan said no.
After the match, Donovan seemed more focused on the Galaxy losing an important Western Conference match against RSL than about missing another set of qualifiers.
"I think we're just disappointed in the game in general," Donovan said when asked about the frustration of being injured before important national team matches yet again. "We're not really worried about that part right now."
If Donovan is forced to withdraw, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann could wind up calling in D.C. United's Chris Pontius, while Club Tijuana winger Jose Corona is also an option.