Brooks limps off in Wolfsburg debut as World Cup qualifying looms

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Brooks limps off in Wolfsburg debut as World Cup qualifying looms

John Brooks' status for upcoming World Cup qualifiers could be in doubt after the U.S. national team defender departed his Wolfsburg debut Sunday with an apparent leg injury.

The 24-year-old, signed from Hertha Berlin in May for an American record €20 million, exited in the 37th minute of Wolfsburg's 1-0 win over Eintracht Norderstedt in the DFB-Pokal first round.

Brooks has earned 32 caps for the U.S., establishing himself as a starter alongside Geoff Cameron in central defense. The U.S. resumes World Cup qualifying against Costa Rica on Sept. 1 in Harrison, New Jersey, before traveling to face Honduras four days later.

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Fulham's Tim Ream or Sporting Kansas City's Matt Besler would be the top candidates to take Brooks' place in the lineup should the center back be unavailable.

The Americans (2-2-2) sit third in CONCACAF's six-team final stage of qualifying, one point ahead of Panama with four matches remaining. The top three teams automatically qualify for the World Cup in Russia, with the fourth-place finisher drawn into a playoff against a team from Asia.