Lionel Messi's back injury puts his Copa America Centenario at risk

Lionel Messi's status for Copa America Centenario may be in question after the Argentina star was injured in the national team's friendly against Honduras on Friday.

Messi got caught up in a clash of bodies and appeared to take a knee to the lower back. He stayed on the ground in pain before being attended to by Argentina's trainers and eventually walking off the pitch gingerly.

After the match, Messi underwent scans that revealed a bruise. No other word on the severity of the injury or a potential timeline for full recovery was released.

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Messi was already facing an unusual run up to the tournament thanks to an on-going tax case in Spain. He was scheduled to fly to Barcelona to hopefully resolve the issue before flying to Santa Clara, CA, where he would rejoin Argentina ahead of their Copa America Centenario opener. Whether that remains the plan is still to be determined.

Argentina have one of the deepest crops of attackers in Copa America Centenario and would be able to cope without their, at least as well as a team can, but there is obviously no replacing someone as good Messi. If Messi does miss the start of the tournament, Argentina should be fine to begin with so long as Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and the rest of the team stay fit. They can get out of their group without Messi, with Chile as the only other real challenger in Group D, but they will need their star to make it through the knockout stages.

Argentina have not won a major tournament since 1993, which means Messi has yet to win a trophy for his country. Copa America Centenario appears to be a chance for the Albiceleste to break that skid, with their talented squad probably the number one favorites, but that all changes if Messi isn't available or is hampered in any way.

Details on Messi's injury and recovery will likely be made available in the coming days. All of Argentina will be watching very closely, not to mention the 15 other countries who have teams at Copa America Centenario, and, of course, Barcelona.