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USMNT Star, McKennie adds to World Cup injury concerns

United States Men's National team midfielder Weston McKennie is in a race against time to be healthy for the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

McKennie will be out at least 15 days with a thigh injury, according to multiple reports. Sky Sports Italia broke the news on Sunday, a day after the 24-year-old Texan was substituted at halftime of Juventus 1-0 win over Lecce in Serie A, Italy's top division.

The World Cup kicks off in Qatar on Nov. 20 and the United States play their first game in the competition a day after, against Wales. The USMNT will also lock horns with England and Iran in the group stage.

Most of the European club-based U.S. players are expected to arrive in Doha on Nov. 13. Because Juventus plays Lazio that day, McKennie was scheduled to fly travel on Nov. 14, one week before the USA's opening match. It's not clear if McKennie's injury would allow him to travel to Qatar earlier now that he's been ruled out of the Lazio match.

It's also not clear how much the two week-plus layoff will impact his match fitness — assuming he recovers in time. Any setback in McKennie's recovery would put his participation against Wales in doubt.

McKennie missed the final three months of the European season last year, plus the final set of World Cup qualifiers for the U.S., after breaking his foot in a UEFA Champions League game against Spain's Villarreal.

With 13 starts in 16 Serie A and UEFA Champions League games, McKennie has been a mainstay in Maxi Allegri's lineup this season despite the Old Lady's struggles in both competitions.

Juve, which sits seventh in Serie A standings, was eliminated from the Champions League last week after a 4-3 loss at Portuguese club Benfica. McKennie scored in that match, his second in Europe's top club competition this season.

McKennie has nine goals in 37 appearances for the U.S. since making his debut in 2017. He's just the latest injured American World Cup roster hopeful hoping to healthy in time for the competition, a list that includes Celta Vigo midfielder Luca de la Torre, Crystal Palace defender Chris Richards, Norwich City striker Josh Sargent and Arsenal goalkeeper Matt Turner.

The U.S. men are back in the World Cup for the first time in eight years, having failed to qualify for years ago for the first time in more than three decades.

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