CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan's could-be-devastating knee injury turned out to be nothing of the sort, and he's headed to Antigua with the US national team.
Donovan was on the roster that US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann announced on Monday for a pair of crucial World Cup qualifiers despite hurting his left knee in the LA Galaxy's loss to Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
The Galaxy would not comment on the injury, a spokesman saying Donovan now was a “national team player,” and Klinsmann telling reporters on a conference call that told him his left knee had improved dramatically since Saturday.
“He was supposed to do an MRI this morning and skipped it because it improved a lot yesterday during the day,” Klinsmann said on Monday. “He said if it was even better this morning, he would skip the MRI and come to Miami [where the national team is gathering], which is the case. He's on the plane.”
Klinsmann said US trainer Ivan Pierra had been in contact with the Galaxy's medical team and that national team doctors will “check him out” when he arrives in Florida later Monday.
“As [Donovan] said to us, the reason why he's on the plane: It looks very good,” the coach added.
Donovan was hurt in the 81st minute of the Galaxy's 2-1 loss Saturday night to RSL at the Home Depot Center. He fell hard from a challenge in the box from defender Jámison Olave, required medical attention on the field, walked gingerly to the LA bench and was replaced on the field.
The Galaxy captain was subdued in the locker room afterward, refusing to speculate on how severe the injury might be, saying only that the knee “didn't feel good” but that he had not heard a “pop” usually associated with ligament tears.
“I landed on it,” he reported. “Just on the ground – I don’t really remember [how it happened], but there was a pretty good divot there.”
Donovan said of how it would impact his status for the World Cup qualifiers as “TBD.”
The Galaxy captain missed the United States' qualifiers last month against Jamaica while nursing a hamstring strain suffered in the Americans' victory over Mexico in an Aug. 15 friendly at Estadio Azteca.
The US split those games and are tied in semifinal Group A on points with Guatemala and Jamaica heading into the final two games. Only the top two advance to the hexagonal final.