US defense is injury central

PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) — Injuries are one thing the U.S. central defense has in common as the team prepares for the World Cup. How well Oguchi Onyewu, Jay DeMerit and Carlos Bocanegra overcome them will be key to the Americans' chances in South Africa.

Bocanegra, the team captain, had sports hernia surgery May 5 in Germany. DeMerit also has been battling an abdominal strain. Onyewu comes off a major left knee injury last October and hasn't been in a game since.

The coaching staff, and the players themselves, are eager to see what level of game fitness each is at as the United States plays warmups against Czech Republic on Tuesday and Turkey on Saturday before heading to South Africa.