US forward Davies 'in serious condition

WASHINGTON: American forward Charlie Davies is unlikely to play in the 2010 World Cup after undergoing several hours of emergency surgery 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, D.C. 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.

Tuesday's surgery, included inserting titanium rods in his right thigh bone, or femur, and the right lower leg (tibia) bone. The first order of business for surgeons was to repair his ruptured bladder.

The horrific single vehicle smash happened in the early morning hours 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 3:15 a.m. crash which took place on a major highway in suburban Virginia.

Davies was not driving but was a passenger in the vehicle where a 22-year-old woman died. Davies had to taken to hospital by air ambulance.

Police identified the person killed as Ashley Roberta. An officer who was at the scene said the vehicle was ripped in two pieces after crashing into a metal guardrail, the Washington Post reported.

Davies started and played the first 78 minutes in Saturday's win at San Pedro Sula, assisting on the first US goal.

The US squad is in Washington to face Costa Rica on Wednesday at RFK Stadium in the final North American regional World Cup qualifying match, with Costa Rica seeking a victory to secure a World Cup berth.

US coach Bob Bradley gathered the players in a small meeting room at their hotel to deliver the shocking news early Tuesday.

"Obviously as a team we're saddened to learn this news," Bradley said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Charlie and Charlie's family and the other person in the car and the others involved.

"The team has asked that any other thoughts we have, to keep them with the guys. As a team, we are relying on each other in a moment that has for sure hit us all hard."

Players were told in a team-only meeting but their reaction was the shock and sadness that might be expected, US Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe said.

"Obviously the players are very saddened by the situation and hope the Charlie has a quick recovery," he said.

Buethe said no other members of the team were involved.

US teen forward Jozy Altidore, who replaced Davies in Saturday's match, typed a series of frowning faces on his twitter page Tuesday afternoon and said, 'I'm not tweeting anymore y'all. Just not feeling well."

Davies, a 2008 Olympian, has scored four goals in 17 matches for the US squad. He was first called up to the team in June of 2007 for a friendly against China after a solid showing with the Swedish club Hammarby.

The US team's resiliency faces a major off-field test after a qualifying year in which American fortitude has been impressive in the wake of challenges on the field.

Americans have three triumphs and a draw in the final-round qualifying matches where they have surrendered the first goal.

"You can't always control what happens in the game but you can control how you react and that has been one of the big situations for us," Landon Donovan said. "That has been a big plus for us this qualifying cycle."