Forward Jozy Altidore, the team’s leading goal scorer in 2013, left the United States’ 2014 FIFA World Cup opener against Ghana after 20 minutes with  a strained left hamstring. Altidore, 24, was attempting to run down a long forward feed when he pulled up in pain, grabbing his left thigh. He was replaced in the lineup by former AZ Alkmaar teammate Aron Johansson.  United States defender Matt Besler also is dealing with a right hamstring issue. United States soccer still beats Ghana with John Brook’s goal. 

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The hamstring refers to the large muscle group located in the back of the thigh.  They may be pulled or excessively stretched, or even torn, with sprinting.   Symptoms include sudden and severe pain that occurs while exercising, along with bruising, swelling, or weakness.  The pain is located in the back of the thigh and may radiate to the buttock or the back of the knee.  The treatment depends on the severity of the tear.  If the hamstring is partially torn, it may heal with rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications.  If the hamstring is completely torn at its attachment from the bone it will require surgery to repair.  The return to play is variable, depending on the severity of the injury, and may take weeks to months.  If surgery is required, the recovery time usually 6 months (for a tear at the pelvis) or 3 months (for a tear at the knee)

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Provided by the Primus Sports Medicine Staff