FORTALEZA, Brazil (AP) — Neymar will miss the rest of the World Cup after fracturing a vertebra during the team’s quarterfinal win over Colombia, the team’s doctor said Friday.
Neymar was kneed in the back by Colombia defender Juan Camilo Zuniga late in the second half of Brazil’s 2-1 win, and was in tears when he was carried off the field on a stretcher.
He was taken to a private clinic for tests and team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said the star striker had fractured his third vertebra.
“He will not be in condition to play, he will need a few weeks to be fit again,” Lasmar said. “He is very, very sad.”
Lasmar said Neymar will not have to undergo surgery and is not expected to remain hospitalized.
The 22-year-old forward is Brazil’s biggest star and had scored four goals for the team so far in his first World Cup.
Brazil plays Germany in the semifinals on Tuesday in Belo Horizonte.
Neymar was hurt in the 86th minute at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, falling to the ground in pain after Zuniga jumped into him from behind, putting his knee into the Brazilian’s lower back. Teammate Marcelo quickly called for medical assistance when he saw Neymar writhing in pain. Neymar stayed face down until team doctors arrived and put him on a stretcher to carry him off.
Brazil teammate Hulk said Neymar needed more protection from the referees after being repeatedly targeted by opponents.
“Every time is like this, players always come after Neymar, the referees need to do more to keep this from happening,” Hulk said.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff sent her support to Neymar.
“Along with the rest of Brazil, I’m hoping for the recovery of our greatest player,” she said on her Twitter account, before he was ruled out of the tournament.
By Tales Azzoni, AP Sports Writer
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