ARLINGTON, Texas — Juan Carlos Osorio was left to lament his misfortune with three center backs leaving Mexico's contest against Croatia with injuries Tuesday.
Nestor Araujo was taken off the field on a stretcher after suffering a knee injury and was replaced by Diego Reyes in the 16th minute. Reyes left at halftime with concerns about his hamstring only for his replacement, Carlos Salcedo, to suffer a shoulder injury and make way in the 68th minute of the 1-0 defeat to the Europeans.
While Reyes' injury is the least serious of the three, Osorio said after the match he and his staff needed to determine the seriousness of the injuries to the Santos Laguna and Eintracht Frankfurt defenders as they "have to be prepared for a scenario in which neither of them can be there."
"Well, unfortunately the first medical report suggests both injuries are serious," he said. "We have to do other tests too, hopefully no, but to say certainly if other structures have been affected. Because of the mechanism of action of Nestor and seeing the video replay, it suggests that it’s something he could recover from, but the doctor also suggested being prudent, wait for a deeper medical exam and be able then to define what the course to take is. Unfortunately, those two, for Nestor and for Carlos, it seems to be very serious the injury and obviously we’re deeply sad."
Araujo went to the hospital but returned to the Mexico team hotel just before 2 a.m. local time on crutches. While a torn ACL was feared, the national team announced early Wednesday morning that he has a meniscus inujry, an MCL injury and swelling at the kneecap. He's set to fly back with his Mexico-based teammates tomorrow with further scans to determine the severity of the injury to take place in Mexico.
Salcedo's case appears more complicated. He left the stadium wearing a sling and Mexico announced he has fractured his clavicle and will likely need surgery after being evaluated Wednesday. That would put him out of action for several weeks and put his participation in the World Cup in doubt.
"It’s very unfortunate," Osorio said. "The guys in the locker room are really hurt, really sad because you often see it happening from afar and you think it happens to other national teams. When you have to live it in the flesh I think it’s devastating. It’s very sad."
The blows at center back are only the latest to hit Mexico this month. LA Galaxy attacker Giovani dos Santos was left out of the initial squad because of a hamstring problem while his brother, Jonathan, had to pull out after being named to the initial squad. So too did Tigres wingers Jurgen Damm and Javier Aquino.
Upon arrival to California for Friday's match against Iceland, El Tri's medical staff determined Hector Herrera wouldn't participate in either game, while Osorio also said Andres Guardado wasn't at 100 percent. Jesus "Tecatito" Corona missed Tuesday's game because of tightness in his ankle.
Osorio will hope his players return to fitness with their clubs before World Cup send-off matches against Wales on May 28 in Southern California and Scotland on June 2 in Mexico City.