American soccer star hurt in car crash

WASHINGTON: American forward Charlie Davies is unlikely to play in the 2010 World Cup after undergoing several hours of surgery on Tuesday to repair a shattered right leg and ruptured bladder.

The 23-year-old Davies suffered multiple fractures in his face, a badly broken right leg, a broken left elbow and a lacerated bladder in a fatal car smash in the early-morning hours on Tuesday. Doctors expressed hope that Davies’ high level of fitness would speed up his recovery but they added he would need further surgery and could be looking at up to 12 months or more of recovery and physiotherapy treatment.

“Injuries of this nature usually require a recovery period of six to 12 months and extensive rehabilitation,” said US national team doctor Dan Kalbac. “Due to Charlie’s fitness level, his prognosis for recovery and his ability to resume high-level competition is substantially improved.” Kalbac hoped Davies could eventually recover and play for the national team again but his participation in the 2010 World Cup tournament in South Africa, which begins next June, is in jeopardy.

Davies, who plays for the French club Sochaux, was listed in serious but stable condition in a Washington, DC hospital after the emergency surgery on Tuesday. Doctors said Davies would be in hospital at least a week and more surgery might be needed to repair the fractures in his face and the broken left elbow.

The horrific single vehicle smash happened in the early morning hours on Tuesday just three days after the US team qualified for the World Cup with a 3-2 win over host Honduras.

Police were probing the crash which took place on a major highway in Virginia. Davies was not driving but was a passenger in the vehicle where a 22-year-old woman died. Davies had to be airlifted to hospital. Police identified the person killed as Ashley Roberta.