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U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM

October 22, 2009
LONG WAY BACK
Gooch rehab expected to take 6 months


Oguchi Onyewu being administered to after his knee injury against Costa Rica.
Oguchi Onyewu being administered to after his knee injury against Costa Rica.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Oguchi Onyewu's chances of playing at next year's World Cup has been put into severe jeopardy as U.S. Soccer announced Thursday that the veteran international defender will miss approximately six months after his knee operation.

Gooch's rehab originally had been estimated at between three to four months.

That meant Onyewu could return sometime in mid-April if his recuperation is on target. That would give him two months to get fit and into match fitness for South Africa. Since he hasn't played for his new club, AC Milan in Italy, he would have to be loaned out to another team.

Onyewu underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee in Los Angeles.

U.S. Soccer physician Dr. Bert Mandlebaum, who performed the one-hour surgery, described the operation as a “complete success.”

Onyewu suffered the injury in the 83rd minute of the United States' 2-2 World Cup qualifying draw with Costa Rica in Washington, D.C. Oct. 14.

Onyewu has begun rehabilitation exercises, U.S. Soccer said. He will continue with the first portion of his recovery in the U.S.
   
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