Colombia did just about everything right in Friday night’s 2-0 Copa America win over the U.S. Men’s National Team, but the team’s biggest star did give them a scare.
Real Madrid attacker James Rodriguez exited the Group A opener in the 73rd minute after apparently suffering a shoulder injury in the second half. The Colombia training staff appeared to be working on the 24-year-old after he went down with the injury, before he re-entered the match briefly.
Although it would be a massive blow if he is unavailable moving forward in the competition, head coach Jose Pekerman remains confident that his star will return to the pitch.
“I want to be optimistic,” Pekerman said. “James is very important for Colombia. We also know he has a lot of desire to play, but I think the medical professionals know to what extent he’ll be running a risk. We cannot take a fast decision.
“I don’t want to think of the negative. We will see, we will be optimistic and we hope that James will recover well and we will have him on the field.”
There is currently no timetable for the midfielder’s return, as Colombia will have to conduct tests to determine the severity of the injury.
James notched Colombia’s second goal of the night, a penalty kick just minutes before halftime that resulted from a handball by USMNT defender DeAndre Yedlin.
Colombia will continue their Group A journey on Tuesday against Paraguay and then close out group play on June 11 against Costa Rica.