USMNT keeper Zack Steffen injures his knee preparing for the Bundesliga's return

U.S. goalkeeper Zack Steffen has been beset by injuries in his first season as a Bundesliga starter. (Angel Marchini/Getty)

The Bundesliga is aiming to become the world’s first major sports league to resume amid the global Covid-19 pandemic, but United States goalkeeper Zack Steffen might not be involved in German soccer’s grand reopening.

Steffen, the No. 1 keeper for the U.S. men’s national team, injured his knee on Monday while taking part in a limited training session with Fortuna Dusseldorf, the club announced on its Twitter feed:

A national team spokesman told Yahoo Sports that the USMNT’s medical staff was made aware of the injury by their counterparts in Dusseldorf, per the usual protocol, but provided no details on either the severity of the ailment or how long it might sideline Steffen.

Although a translation of Fortuna’s Tweet said that Steffen suffered an “inner ligament injury in the knee,” Steffen is not believed to have damaged his anterior cruciate ligament. That would be good news for the Americans, as a torn ACL typically requires reconstructive surgery and many months of rehabilitation.

Like all German first- and second-tier clubs, Fortuna Dusseldorf’s players had been working out in small groups in anticipation of the resumption of the 2019-20 campaign, which was abruptly halted in March in an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In his first season as a Bundesliga starter, Steffen has been beset by knee issues since leaving the Columbus Crew last July. He missed 15 matches for Fortuna plus a pair CONCACAF Nations League games for the U.S. in November because of tendinitis in his left knee.

In February, he flew to England to be assessed by doctors from parent club Manchester City, which purchased Steffen from Columbus in 2018 before sending him on loan to Dusseldorf. His most recent appearance came in a 2-1 win over Union Berlin on Dec. 22.

Fortuna sat 16th in the 18-team Bundesliga when the league went dark indefinitely on March 12, a day before the club was scheduled to host last-place Paderborn.

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