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Riley: Morgan could be out until past Memorial Day

Alex Morgan could be out until June by Portlan Thorns coach Paul Riley's estimate. (Photo Copyright Meg Linehan for The Equalizer)

Alex Morgan hasn’t played a competitive match since Nov. 10, 2013, when she came off the bench for 22 minutes in a 4-1 victory over Brazil.

That came a few weeks after the U.S. striker hurt her left ankle during national team training in San Antonio, an injury originally diagnosed as a sprained left ankle. Despite Morgan wearing a walking boot in the days that followed, U.S. Soccer downplayed everything as precautionary and “not serious.”

In December, after limited activity at U.S. training camp, it was revealed that Morgan had a stress reaction in her left ankle and would remain sidelined for “several weeks.”

Fast-forward to March — just weeks before the start of the 2014 NWSL season — and Morgan still hasn’t played, going as far to say that there is no timetable for her return. Portland Thorns FC coach Paul Riley doubled down on that this week, but told the Arizona Daily Star on Friday that “she’s nowhere near ready to play. We don’t have a timetable on that. I don’t think we’d see her before Memorial Day weekend.”

Using Riley’s assumption as a benchmark, if Morgan returned to play for the Thorns’ June 7 home match against the Western New York Flash in a 2013 NWSL Championship rematch, it would mean she would miss Portland’s first nine games of the 24-game NWSL season.

And the ‘ifs’ are still still very large uncertainties, as the unraveling of this story and the increasing concern regarding the injury have shown. The primary focus, though, remains the same for one of the world’s best strikers: Get healthy for the run-up to the 2015 World Cup, which includes qualifying in October.

Morgan is with the Thorns for the weekend in Arizona as Portland prepares for the season with games against the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, but Morgan’s appearance in the Grand Canyon State is merely that.

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