Michael Bradley Injury: Updates on Midfielder's Ankle, Potential Return Date
United States men's national team midfielder Michael Bradley sprained his ankle during warmups for his country's CONCACAF 2014 World Cup qualifying match against Costa Rica on Friday night.
Bradley was scheduled to get the start for Jurgen Klinsmann's side, but did not trot out when the starting lineups were announced at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica.
Bradley has since been diagnosed with a grade 2 sprain of the ankle.
UPDATE: Sunday, Sept. 8
From US Soccer:
Michael Bradley diagnosed with grade 2 sprain. Much better than expected!— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) September 8, 2013
UPDATE: Saturday, Sept. 7
The USMNT announced (via the team's website) that "Michael Bradley has been ruled out after suffering a left ankle sprain during warm-ups prior to the start of the match."
Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl observed Bradley first limping off the field after warmups, and then noticed his absence as the match was about to begin:
Michael Bradley limped off field after warmups. Geoff Cameron and Kyle Beckerman warming up right now.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) September 7, 2013
Michael Bradley not among US starters marching out for anthem. Geoff Cameron instead.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) September 7, 2013
U.S. Soccer's official Twitter account confirmed that Bradley sprained his left ankle:
Stoke City's Geoff Cameron got the start in Bradley's stead.
There's been no word as to the severity of the injury, if Bradley will be available for Team USA's match with Mexico on Tuesday or if he will miss any time with club squad AS Roma.
Bradley was set to get his 81st cap in international competition on Friday night, but that's hardly the biggest story for Team USA. Integral to Klinsmann's attack in the middle of the field, Bradley is widely considered to be pivotal to the Americans making a deep run in Brazil next summer.
ESPN's Paul Carr noted on Twitter that Bradley is one of only three players to play all six hexagonal fourth-round CONCACAF matches without coming off the pitch for so much as a short breather:
Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey & Omar Gonzalez are only ones to play all 540 Hex minutes for #USMNT.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) September 7, 2013
Philly.com's Jonathan Tannenwald tried to put a positive spin on what could be a major setback in Team USA's march to finishing first in their qualifying table:
Inasmuch as Michael Bradley is indispensable, if he doesn't play tonight he doesn't get booked tonight, and so he doesn't miss Tuesday.— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) September 7, 2013
Wahl provided us with a further report on Bradley once things were underway in Costa Rica:
Michael Bradley on crutches with a giant icebag on his left ankle.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) September 7, 2013
The 26-year-old American is in the midst of his second season with Serie A club Roma. Previously with Chievo Verona and shortly on loan with Aston Villa, Bradley has made a name for himself in a short time as a member of the national team whose value can't be overstated.
That theory will be put to the test as the match against Costa Rica wears on.
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