WASHINGTON -- U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu tore a tendon in his left knee during Wednesday night's World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica, an injury that usually requires a recovery time of three-to-four months.
The AC Milan defender fell down on the slick turf of RFK Stadium during the 83rd minute of the 2-2 draw and left the field on a stretcher.
Onyewu's injury came a day after teammate Charlie Davies was seriously injured in a car crash. Davies is unlikely to play in next year's World Cup.
"We've had two days of tough news," U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. "Gooch has been a such an important part of our team."
Onyewu was diagnosed with a torn patellar tendon. However, Bradley expressed confidence he would recover in time for the World Cup.
"He's young, he's healthy, our doctors are good," Bradley said. "He's someone that we're sure is going to get back and be ready to go."
A 6-foot-4 defender from Olney, Md., Onyewu left Belgium's Standard Liege after last season and signed a three-year contract in July with AC Milan.
The 27-year-old has appeared in just one of the club's 10 competitive matches this season, making his official debut as a 60th-minute substitute in the 1-0 Champions League loss to Zurich on Sept. 30.
Because the U.S. had used its three substitutes, Onyewu could not be replaced after the injury. Still, the United States gained the draw when Jonathan Bornstein headed in a corner kick in the fifth minute of stopped time.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press