Jozy Altidore could struggle to be fit for the start of the season after the Sunderland player revealed he has suffered a grade two hamstring tear.
The American picked up his injury against Ghana in America’s first group match of the World Cup.
Despite there having being much talk from the American camp, especially from head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, that Altidore could have been fit for Tuesday’s last-six game against Belgium, that now sounds like wishful thinking at best.
The 24-year-old revealed he has picked up a “grade two tear in the Ghana game” and added it had always unlikely he would play again in the World Cup – even if his national side have defeated the Belgians.
Such an injury has on average a four-to-six week recovery period, meaning the centre-forward will not be 100% fit when he joins up with the Sunderland squad later this month after being given more time off following the World Cup.
With such injuries, the rehabilitation cannot be rushed for fear of aggravating the hamstring.
Even if there were no setbacks, Altidore would be looking at the end of July before being able to commit 100% to full training.
Altidore hardly set the world alight in his first season at the Stadium of Light, scoring only one league goal.
However, his team is lacking in centre-forwards so it is a blow he is struggling to declare himself fit for the season opener against at West Bromwich Albion.
That match is on August 16, so while it is far from an impossibility Altidore would be available for Gus Poyet, the manager may have to do without him.
Sunderland have Steven Fletcher, who has had his own fitness worries, and Connor Whickham, whose long-term future at the Stadium of Light has still to be sorted out.
However, fellow strikers, Ignacio Scocco and Danny Graham will be moved on and while neither was a success, this does not change the fact there are squad places which need filling.
Watford and Middlesbrough want Graham, who is available for a fee of £1m.
At the moment, the Hornets are leading the chase for the striker, who has endured a tough time since signing for Sunderland 18 months ago.
Middlesbrough, for whom he played on loan in the second half of last season, are considering making a bid for the 28-year-old, but the Wearside club do have other options.