Originally posted on The Sports Post  |  Last updated 6/22/14

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JUNE 05: Jozy Altidore speaks to the media during a press conference to announce the New York Red Bulls and Spanish La Liga runner-up, Villarreal CF, have agreed in principle to a transfer fee prior to the game against Chivas USA at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands on June 6, 2008 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for New York Red Bulls)
The World Cup started with a dream goal in thirty seconds by Clint Dempsey for the United States men's national team. And while USA pulled out a win against their rival Ghana, it came at a very hefty price. In the 21st minute, Jozy Altidore was on a breakout run on the left side of the pitch with a defender trailing him. It looked like a sure-fire chance for the Americans to score a second time, until Altidore froze in his tracks, grabbed his upper back leg, and fell to the ground. Immediate panic set in as the star forward was carried off the field. It was later discovered that he suffered a high hamstring strain and would miss today's game against Portugal. While the injury itself is a crushing blow for the American squad, a high hamstring strain is a very common injury for soccer players. The hamstring muscle is located on the posterior, or back side, of the leg and aids in knee flexion and hip extension. It is comprised of three muscular components: The Semitendinosus: Allows knee flexion and hip extension. The middle of the three muscles. The Semimembranosus: Also aids in knee flexion and hip extension. Of the three muscles, the semimembranosus is the closest to the medial, or the middle of the body. The Biceps Femoris: Split into two heads, a short and long head, the biceps femoris are the longest of the three muscles. The long head is a weak knee flexor but a strong hip extender. A strain, or a pulled muscle, is a tear in the muscle fiber because of overstretching. Strains leave bruising, swelling and discoloration at the sight. Hamstring strains are so common because of the consistent lunging and running that soccer players do over and over again. While the pain of a hammy strain can be brutal, the treatment is not difficult. Following the common P.R.I.C.E. method of protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation, a hamstring strain can take a few days to a few weeks to heal. It is important to have an MRI of the injury to make sure there was not a full tear of the muscle. As for Altidore, the U.S. will miss him when they take on Portugal. A win for the Americans mean an automatic bid into the round of 16. But luckily for team USA, Portugal struggled in their first game against Germany and superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is dealing with a knee ailment. The U.S. have a decent chance at winning the match without Altidore, and hopefully he will be healthy enough to play for the rest of the tournament.

This article first appeared on The Sports Post and was syndicated with permission.

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