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Romelu Lukaku Injury: Updates on Belgium Star's Ankle and Recovery

Belgium's Romelu Lukaku salutes after he scored against Luxembourg, during a friendly soccer match at the Cristal Arena stadium in Genk, eastern Belgium, Tuesday, May 26, 2014. Belgium will play against South Korea, Russia and Algeria in Group H of the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)
Yves Logghe/Associated Press
Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2014

Updates from Wednesday, June 11

Guardian Sport provided the latest on Romelu Lukaku's status heading into the 2014 World Cup:

Updates from Monday, June 9

Romelu Lukaku's World Cup dream is not over, following scans on the Belgium star's ankle injury over the weekend.

The Daily Star reports:

Initial reports suggested the 21-year-old had suffered a badly sprained ankle, which could have sidelined him for weeks.

But medical scans yesterday revealed no serious damage and he is expected to be fit for the start of the tournament.

 

Original Text

Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku suffered a "severe" right ankle sprain in Saturday night's 1-0 win versus Tunisia, but the injury is not expected to keep him out of the World Cup, according to coach Marc Wilmots.

Lukaku, 21, was taken off the pitch during stoppage time in the second half following a hard tackle from Bilel Mohsni. With just more than a week remaining between the friendly tune-up and Belgium's Group H opener versus Algeria, the sight of seeing their most reliable goalscorer taken off was understandably worrisome.

Wilmots attempted to assuage those concerns by indicating Lukaku would be out "days," not weeks.

"Romelu has problems walking," Wilmots said, per Goal.com. "His injury seems at first sight not too bad, the doctors told me. This is preliminary to a severe sprain but we will obviously do additional tests on Sunday. For the time being, Romelu will miss three to four days, hopefully it stops there."

Wilmots' side will be able to contextualize the injury more following tests. Lukaku will likely undergo an X-ray and MRI to ensure there are no small breaks or damage to muscle tissue—both of which could put his World Cup appearance in jeopardy.

Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Associated Press

The Chelsea forward, on loan to Everton, scored 15 goals in 33 games at Goodison Park this season. Since coming over to Chelsea in a 2011 summer transfer, Lukaku has made just 10 club appearances despite proving himself with Everton and West Brom.

With Diego Costa likely joining Jose Mourinho's side in a transfer, per Ashley Clements of the Daily MailLukaku has recently gone public with his desire to leave Stamford Bridge permanently. 

"Many clubs are interested in me," Lukaku said, via ESPN. "At this stage, I have to look to myself. I have to play a good World Cup. That's very interesting for all the players looking for a transfer. And I must be one of them. Chelsea know my point of view."

For now, Lukaku's desire to leave Chelsea has been replaced with one for a clean bill of health. Belgium come into Brazil as a significant Group H favorite. They are ranked No. 11 in the current FIFA rankings and have a stable of young, up-and-coming players on the precipice of reaching their primes. 

Lukaku and Chelsea teammate Eden Hazard are critical to that charge, as Belgium are not as deep as other top competitors and need their top players healthy.

Belgium are making their first World Cup appearance since 2002. 

Whether it's a successful trip or not may come down to Sunday's test results. For now, Belgium will wait with their fingers crossed that their most threatening goalscorer and lone striker will be in full health come June 17.

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.

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