Aron Johannsson didn't hurt his ankle on duty with the United States. He actually had the injury long before he joined up with the U.S. for the World Cup, AZ technical director Earnie Stewart told ESPNFC.
Johannsson underwent ankle surgery on Tuesday, an operation the club said he would have done this summer. Some had speculated that he had suffered the injury while with the U.S., possibly even at the World Cup, but that wasn't the case.
"He's had this injury for a longer while than at the U.S. national team," Stewart said. "It was something that you could play with; it wasn't a problem to. I've played with the same problem myself. Once it's time to rest, it's something that can aggravate you every time you step out on the field."
Johannsson played in just one match for the U.S. at the World Cup, coming on for the injury Jozy Altidore in the Americans' opener against Ghana. The striker didn't play well in that match and never saw the field again. Some wondered if he had suffered the ankle injury just before the match or even during it, but that apparently was not the case.
Stewart said that he expects Johannsson to return to training on September 1 and be available when AZ plays Heerenveen on September 14. That would rule Johannsson out of the United States' September 3 friendly against the Czech Republic in Prague, but it should make him available for the October friendlies.
Johannsson led AZ with 17 goals in the league last season. It was his first season as AZ's starting striker, having spent the previous six months behind Altidore. But after Altidore was sold, Johannsson took the spot and ran with it. Now he's the lead man at the club and, at just 23 years old, one of Jurgen Klinsmann's best hopes to shine up top for the U.S. in the next cycle.