World Cup 2018: Injuries that Could Impact the Knockout Round

June 29, 2018 | insideinjuries | No Comments

James Rodriguez and Romelu Lukaku weren’t the only players to pickup injuries in the Group Stage of the World Cup. Here are the players we are watching ahead of the Round of 16 with analysis on when they will play and if they will be close to 100%.

James Rodriguez (Colombia)- calf strain

James Rodriguez limped off just 30 minutes into Colombia’s third Group Stage match, one where they needed a victory to ensure advancing. They got the win, but they may have lost their star in the process. Rodriguez already had problems with his calf, and despite being cleared to play, we still showed that his Injury Risk was incredibly High. Now he may not be available for the remainder of the tournament.

Calf strains are highly recurrent, and even the mildest of strains need around 3 weeks to fully heal. Rodriguez wasn’t out of the woods despite feeling healthy, and now his recovery time essentially resets. It’s unrealistic to expect him to play in the Round of 16. If Colombia can make it past England without him, he is still going to have a hard time getting healthy enough to suit up against either Sweden or Switzerland.

Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)- ankle sprain

Lukaku wasn’t available for Belgium’s final Group Stage match against England due to an ankle injury suffered against Tunisia a few days earlier. Lukaku recently missed three months in April with the same injury, so while we would normally consider this a minor sprain, it’s more concerning because it’s a repeat injury. If it’s mild (which it sounds like it is), the Optimal Recovery Time is three weeks.

Now, Lukaku is expected to suit up against Japan, but if he does his Injury Risk will be incredibly High. When the ankle goes through multiple injuries like this, the ligaments get more and more stretched out, leaving the ankle more susceptible to future sprains. He may feel healthy enough to play, but he won’t be anywhere near 100%. Lateral movements and explosiveness will be impacted severely. It also won’t be a surprise if he can’t make it through a full 90 minutes.

The other injury concern for Belgium is Vincent Kompany. He seems to have recovered from his groin strain but remains at a very High Risk of Injury. He should be available, but playing 90 minutes still isn’t realistic.

John Stones (England)- calf strain

Stones was subbed off at halftime of England’s loss Thursday and was seen with ice wrapped around his left calf. Gareth Southgate insisted that there are “no concerns” over his availability to face Colombia. While that may be true, his Injury Risk has increased as calf injuries easily re-appear- just look at James Rodriguez. Expect Stones to be back in the starting lineup, but keep an eye on him. It’s also worth noting that Stones battled some minor injuries throughout the second half of the Premier League season, hurting his performance throughout the spring.

Marcelo (Brazil)- back strain

Brazil may be without star Marcelo for another game. Their team doctor suggested that his current back problem is due to a soft hotel mattress. Whatever the reason, back injuries are always a sign of trouble. That’s especially true for someone like Marcelo who comes with a concerning history of back and muscular problems. He limped off in the 10th minute against Serbia due to spasms, causing his back to lock up. Brazil is now scheduled to face Mexico int he Round of 16, but it may not be enough time for Marcelo to recover. This comes with an Optimal Recovery Time of 2+ weeks. Even if he does get cleared to play, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he can’t make it through a full 90 minutes.

In addition to Marcelo’s injury, Brazil is also keeping a close eye on Douglas Costa (thigh) and Danilo (thigh). Both players took part in Brazil’s training session on Friday and should be fit to face Mexico despite missing the match against Serbia.

Shinji Okazaki (Japan)- calf strain

A recurring calf injury caused Okazaki to limp off of the pitch in Japan’s 1-0 defeat to Poland. He hopes to be ready for the knockout stage against Belgium, but calf injuries always seem to heal slower than expected. He won’t be anywhere near 100% for at least 2-3 weeks, but he could try to play through the injury due to the significance of this match.

William Kvist (Denmark)- rib fractures and punctured lung

Kvist was sent home after an injury against Peru left him with two fractured ribs and a punctured lung. He has since returned to Russia and could return to play in the Knockout Round. This is a pretty serious injury that takes at least 4-6 weeks to fully recover from. But with the possibility of playing again in the World Cup, he may take the risk and play sooner than he should. Denmark will face an impressive Croatian squad that came out of the Group Stage with three wins. If Kvist can get cleared, he will be an important player in the midfield as Denmark tries to slow down Modric and Rakitic.

Dele Alli (England)- hamstring strain

Dele Alli was one of many of England’s regulars to start on the bench against Belgium, but his may have been more due to a hamstring injury than rest. Alli is expected to return to the starting lineup on Tuesday, but it’s important that he doesn’t rush back from this injury. It doesn’t take much to tweak it, which could end his time in Russia. A mild strain needs at least two weeks to fully heal, so his Injury Risk is High heading into the match against Colombia. England should have their full squad available, but many of there players come with injury concerns.

Abel Aguilar (Colombia)- adductor strain

Aguilar wasn’t available in Colombia’s must-win match against Senegal due to a left adductor injury. He was stretchered off in their win over Poland and is a doubt to face England in the Knockout Round. This can be a pretty serious injury that takes a minimum of two weeks to recover from. If it’s a more serious strain, his time in Russia will be over.

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