Bobby Wood is Hamburg’s best player. If the Bundesliga club are going to avoid relegation this season it’s because the U.S. men’s national team striker has had a great season. The club’s manager Markus Gisdol revealed in a press conference on Thursday that his star striker has been playing through an injury lately using painkillers to help him get on the field.
"Last season he played in the 2nd league, but now is considered to be a top player who is always expected to perform at the highest level,” Gisdol said.
"His work ethic is exemplary; he works hard for the team. Bobby guts it out week by week; he has played with pain relievers for weeks. I won't tell you what Bobby's problem is." — Markus Gisdol; Source: Sport Bild (translation by John N. Dillon of Bavarian Football Works)
Sport BILD also report that the injury is the knee injury that sidelined him for the March World Cup qualifiers and that he return from shortly after.
Hamburg currently sit third from the bottom of the table, the dreaded relegation playoff spot, with just two matches left in the season. Wood is mired in a seven-match goal scoring drought and the pain he’s playing through cannot be helping. While Gisdol praises the Hawaiian for his brilliant work this season, he admits that Wood cannot help the club survive relegation on his own.
"He might not be stable enough for that [saving Hamburg from relegation]. But, Bobby will score goals when it counts."
What does all this mean from a national team perspective? Well...it’s not great news. It seems as if Hamburg are doing all they can to trot Bobby Wood out on the field to help save their spots in the Bundesliga, regardless if he’s fit or not. Once their bid for safety is over, there will likely be a need for a recovery period for Wood. Will that affect his availability for the USMNT this summer?
Let’s ask this question while we’re at it. Do the USMNT really need Bobby Wood this summer? In all honesty, the national team have two matches we need to worry about, both coming in early June. The World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago in Colorado should be the most winnable qualifier of the 10 they play. Then they travel to Estadio Azteca to play Mexico away. I’m not sure having 11 Bobby Wood’s available for that match would make a difference.
So, will Bobby Wood even play for the USMNT this summer? Would it be more wise to let him rest up for next season and future World Cup qualifiers? We’ll find out in a few weeks, I guess.