It just really hasn't been Zack Steffen's year.
The U.S. men's national team goalkeeper has suffered another injury, according to his club, Fortuna Dusseldorf. This time, it's a knee ligament ailment picked up in training, as clubs in Germany prepare for an eventual return to action behind closed doors.
Steffen, who started the club's first 17 matches this season, had suffered a knee injury in December related to a patellar tendon that kept him out through the Bundesliga winter break and into the pandemic shutdown. This injury, Fortuna Dusseldorf sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel said, is unrelated to the previous one.
“With Zack Steffen it is particularly annoying," Pfannenstiel said. "We had only just got a grip on his patellar tendon problems thanks to hard work.”
It's unclear how serious this injury is and how long it will keep Steffen, who is on loan from Manchester City, sidelined, but he will not be able to participate in the small-group training sessions that Fortuna Dusseldorf and other clubs in Germany have been conducting, adhering to social-distancing protocols while still preparing for games to resume.
Steffen, 25, had played through knee tendonitis before being shut down in the winter, but he hasn't played for the national team since the Concacaf Nations League games in October. He was left off the squad for the decisive November matches vs. Canada and Cuba, with Brad Guzan starting in goal in his place. There won't be any national team games until September at the earliest, with 2022 World Cup qualifying currently scheduled to start then but quite likely to be postponed as Concacaf navigates the pandemic fallout.