United States defender John Brooks returned to Hertha Berlin from international duty early due to injury, leaving his club unhappy as it faces a critical match next on its schedule.
Brooks, 23, returned to the team with a bruised knee that left his status uncertain for Sunday’s game at Borussia Monchengladbach. Hertha is in third, in position for a Champions League spot, and its opponent trails in fifth place.
“It was all a bit curious and certainly not ideal,” Hertha sporting director Michael Preetz said. “John boarded the plane without any acute problems and returns injured. It raises a few questions.”
Brooks did not play in the U.S.’s loss to Guatemala Friday and will be unavailable for the critical World Cup qualifier on Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio.
Brooks has been a key part of Hertha’s defense this season, appearing in the club’s last 16 league games. Preetz admitted that Brooks could have “underestimated” an injury he sustained March 19 with Hertha.
“It might have made sense to keep him here in Berlin for one more day to see how things developed,” he said. “Instead, he now has 30 flight hours in his bones. And the U.S. association keeps him on site for four, five days without any real examination.”
A U.S. Soccer spokesperson told Goal.com that Brooks was examined daily after telling the national team medical staff that he was bringing the injury into camp. He reportedly trained once before being deemed unfit to play and returning to Germany.