Mendoza latest casualty to join Columbus' injury list

Andres Mendoza trips Nick Rimando

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Crew forward Andrés Mendoza suffered a fracture of his right wrist during Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake and his status for Sunday’s match against Chicago is unknown.

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“It’s going to be a big cast,” coach Robert Warzycha said on Thursday. “We are trying to find out from the league what kind of cast he can have and how much it can be covered over the cast so he can compete. He didn’t practice today. Tomorrow we are going to see what he can do, whether he is going to be able to practice and go from there.”

Warzycha is not sure when the injury occurred.

“I think he fell," he said. "It might have been on a corner. During the game, I saw him holding his wrist, so I thought he did something.”

Mendoza scored on a penalty kick against RSL for his fourth goal, tying Emilio Rentería for the team lead. The goal didn’t come without any controversy. The Designated Player supplanted Jeff Cunningham, who could have tied the all-time MLS career mark if he had converted. Mendoza said after the game he was unaware of the record.

The Peruvian’s injury is the latest to hit Columbus striking corps. Rentería missed his third straight game because of a left quadriceps strain and Tommy Heinemann did not dress Wednesday because of a left hamstring strain from last week’s match at New York.

“Emilio is going to practice tomorrow, but I’m not sure he is going to be able to play Sunday,” Warzycha said. “Tommy is not going to be ready.”

If all three are ruled out for Sunday’s clash against Chicago (4 pm ET, watch LIVE online), the only healthy forwards would be Cunningham and rookie Justin Meram, who has come off the bench to play left midfield in the past two games.

“We might do what we did at the beginning of the season,” Warzycha said. “We might play 4-4-1-1, but we have Tommy and we have Jeff, so we are not that bad off.”

Midfielders Eddie Gaven and Emmanuel Ekpo have also played up top in their careers, but the Crew are thin in the midfield as well. Dilly Duka (right ankle sprain) sat the RSL match and will not play Sunday, Leandre Griffit (abdominal strain) is out, and Robbie Rogers is with the US national team for the Gold Cup.

Left back Josh Gardner, who scored the winner in the 82nd minute on Wednesday, is a converted left midfielder and could return there, but left back Shaun Francis (left hamstring strain) is also unavailable for Sunday.