Alex Morgan is out for the rest of the CONCACAF Women's Championship after suffering a left ankle sprain in the United States' 5-0 win over Guatemala on Friday night. The striker will miss the next 4-6 weeks, but Morgan and the U.S. will feel fortunate that there is no additional damage.
Morgan was sidelined for eight months earlier this year with a left ankle injury and when she went down clutching that ankle during the match, many were concerned that she had suffered serious damage to it. A Guatemala defender rolled over her leg, forcing the ankle to bend unnaturally and she immediately went to the ground in obvious pain. After being stretchered off the field, she attempted to put weight on her left leg, but could not and many were fearing the worst.
Thankfully, an MRI on Saturday revealed that she has nothing more than a sprain. The bone, ligaments and tendons are just fine, eliminating the fear of a serious injury.
Morgan's previous ankle injury started as a sprain, but then she aggravated it and it became a stress reaction. Based on that, it's safe to assume that she and the doctors will be exceedingly cautious with her return this time around, making sure she is not overly susceptible to re-injuring the ankle or hurting it further.
The U.S. should be fine without Morgan in the CONCACAF Women's Championship, which serves as qualifying for nex summer's Women's World Cup. They are so much more talented than the rest of the field that there is no reason to believe any player is the difference between them qualifying or not. The downside for the U.S. is that once the tournament begins, teams cannot make changes to their rosters to the Americans must finish the tournament with a 19-player squad.
The key for the Americans is making sure that everyone is fit and in form come next summer and this injury should not prevent Morgan from being ready for that. After this tournament, the U.S. will not get together again until December, when they will head to Brazil for a friendly tournament. Morgan may be fit for that and, if she is not, she will certainly be ready for a training camp the team has planned for January.