Brazil defeated Serbia in its opening World Cup match, but it may have lost a key player when Neymar injured his ankle on Thursday.
Under a forceful assault from Nikola Milenkovic in the second half, Neymar lost his balance. The Brazilian star was removed in the 80th minute after continuing to play for 11 minutes.
The severity of the injury wasn’t immediately apparent, but two pictures gave Brazil cause for concern.
Neymar was depicted on the bench inconsolable and on the verge of tears, suggesting he was worried about his ability to continue in the competition. Then, as he hobbled off the pitch, his severely swollen right ankle was visible.
Neymar was also seen walking very gingerly after the game on camera.
The MRI for Neymar
After defeating Serbia 2-0, Brazil’s team physician Rodrigo Lasmar was accessible at the post-match press conference.
According to Lasmar, Neymar suffered direct trauma to the right ankle. “We immediately began the treatment on the bench because of the shock he experienced from the Serbian player’s knee. He continued receiving physiotherapy treatment.
“We need 24-48 hours for the MRI to give us a clearer idea. We shall get a fresh evaluation tomorrow. It would be premature to discuss his evolution at this time, so we must hold off. We must be patient.
Despite Lasmar’s warning, Brazil coach Tite was more upbeat about his star’s prospects of playing more at the World Cup.
Tite remarked, “Neymar, he felt this pain the entire game. But he made the decision to stay on the field to support the team. It’s amazing that he could endure this discomfort while the team was competing.
“Neymar will definitely participate in the World Cup. He’ll participate in the Cup.