Will hip injury shut Federico Higuain down for the season? Columbus Crew say there's a chance

Columbus Crew's Federico Higuain

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports

OBETZ, Ohio — During Saturday's loss to Sporting Kansas City, Columbus Crew forward Federico Higuain could be seen hobbling around the Crew Stadium pitch holding his right hip for much of the match.

After an early tackle where the Argentinian went to the ground, he developed a bit of a limp and was clearly in pain. He winced while he made tackles, he seemed to struggle to get back on defense, and other than a few short sprints, Higuain seemed far from his usual self.

"We saw something happen early in the first half," Columbus interim head coach Brian Bliss told reporters shortly after the match. "We shouted something and he said he was fine. Then he would take off on a sprint and cast any doubt away. Then we asked him at half time and he said, 'I'm good to go.' ... It wasn't his best outing."

Higuain missed practice Monday and did not participate in Tuesday's training, but watched from the bench. Bliss confirmed that he had a hip injury, and said that with the team idle on the weekend, he would be re-evaluated Monday.

"He had a severe contusion to the hip area," Bliss told reporters after training Tuesday. "He's got some lack of mobility and range of motion there and some soreness. Not having a game this week, the best bet for us is to keep him out for a few days and then for him to get those extra three or four days as well going through the weekend."

The Sporting KC loss puts the Crew's playoff chances in serious doubt, and with the correct combination of results over the weekend, Columbus could be mathematically out of the playoff race by Monday. Bliss said that despite the team's goal to win regardless of playoff outcome, shutting Higuain down for the season may be in play if the team can't extend its season.

"That's always a possibility ... I don't want to injure anybody for no reason," he said. "But even if we happen to be out of it mathematically, we still want to finish strong. That doesn't mean rolling out a guy and injuring him for the rest of the season or the rest of the year."