Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fabregas, Rooney Injured; World Cup at Risk?

They went down on consecutive nights. Two of the best players in the English Premier League. And the world.

Their Premiership seasons are at risk.

The question here is: Are their South Africa 2010 plans in jeopardy?

We must wait and see. But two days after Cesc Fabregas of Spain/Arsenal and Wayne Rooney of England/Manchester United were hurt, here are the early indications:

--Fabregas is in trouble. He suffered a broken leg while taking a penalty in the 85th minute of a Champions League game with Barcelona. He will be out at least six weeks, according to his club coach, Arsene Wenger. And with the World Cup only 10 weeks away, it's difficult to imagine he will be in peak condition for South Africa.

Spain is not hurting for talent. It has great players nearly everywhere. Actually, Espana started Fabregas only three times during qualifying. But he has grown in the past year, and you can't lose a player of his caliber and not be the less for it. And you can't play a Fabregas who isn't quite healthy and be the same team. So he bears close watching.

--Rooney may be OK. He rolled his ankle violently in ManU's match with Bayern Munich. But the team said today nothing is broken. Just "ligament damage" is what they are calling it. Which sounds like trainer-speak for a sprain. Now, sprains are nothing to sniff at, especially for a big lad like Rooney. His immediate availability with ManU is going to suffer, but if he gets some time to heal he ought to be ready for South Africa.

Clearly, all serious fans want all the top players to be healthy. That's what the World Cup should be about. The best against the best. But the endless club seasons make it a near-certainty that some elite players won't be there. Those who get hurt in the next few weeks are even more like to miss the Big Event.
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