Sun, May 25, 2003 - Page 22 News List

Beckham breaks his wrist

AP , LONDON

David Beckham will be sidelined for up to eight weeks with a broken wrist but will be ready for Manchester United's tour of the US in July.

The England captain fractured his right scaphoid, the bone between the thumb and the wrist, in the national team's 2-1 win over South Africa in Durban on Thursday.

With his hand and forearm in a cast, Beckham flew back to England with the rest of the team Friday. Manchester United said he would return to the club for treatment.

"He will be coming back to Manchester to be reviewed," a United statement said. "He is likely to be in plaster for six to eight weeks. However, he will be fit for the preseason tour of the USA."

Manchester United, the Premier League champion, will play Scotland's Celtic in Seattle on July 22, Mexico's Club America in Los Angeles on July 27, Italy's Juventus in Giants Stadium on July 31 and Spain's Barcelona in Philadelphia on Aug. 3.

Manchester United and Beckham are eager to lift their profiles in the US and build on the success of "Bend it Like Beckham," a British film about soccer-playing girls.

The title is based on Beckham's trademark ability to curl a free kick over a wall of defenders into the net. Beckham was injured after landing awkwardly under a first-half challenge from South Africa's Thabang Molefe. He continued playing but came off early in the second half and was taken to a hospital for X-rays. Beckham will miss England's next friendly on June 3 against Serbia-Montenegro. He was already suspended for the Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia on June 11.

"I feel very sorry for David because that was his last game of the season and he has got that painful injury," England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said. "If you gave me one million dollars I couldn't name the bone which he has damaged, but I just hope he recovers as quickly as possible so he can have a normal life during the summer."

Last year, Beckham broke the metatarsal bone in his foot playing for Manchester United against Deportivo la Coruna in a Champions League game. Despite concerns that he would miss the World Cup, he recovered in time to play in all of England's games last summer.

The news was featured in British newspapers Friday.

"David Beckham doesn't do ordinary clothes or haircuts -- and he doesn't do ordinary injuries either," The Mirror wrote Friday next to a graphic of hand bones. "Less stylish players might strain their groin or tweak a hamstring."

The Independent said: "Forget about the metatarsal. That bone is so last year, consigned to David Beckham's fashion dustbin along with the Alice [hair] band. The bone to break this year is the scaphoid"

"He should not miss any football as a result of this bad break, but the inability to sign autographs over the next few weeks will disappoint many fans," The Times wrote.

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