While Neymar continues recovery, Costa picks up injury
TERESOPOLIS, Brazil (AP) — Neymar's recovery from a foot injury has been better than expected, Brazil's medical staff said on Wednesday, but added that a thigh problem sustained by winger Douglas Costa will affect his preparations for the tournament.
Neymar was back in training with the national team on Tuesday after being sidelined since late February with a broken bone in his right foot. On Wednesday he also took part of Brazil's first fitness training in foggy and cold Teresopolis, outside Rio de Janeiro. He underwent surgery in Brazil on March 3.
Brazil's fitness coach Fabio Mahseredjian said it may take time before Neymar is back to full fitness but that the striker is moving in the right direction.
"We don't know how far a top athlete like him can go, but I can say his development has been above what we expected," Mahseredjian said. "We have started working one month before our World Cup opener, and until the end of the group stage there is more than a month. I believe that training with the squad, being monitored like he is now, with daily follow-ups, Neymar is very well taken care of. ... It will be important (to see Neymar) when he plays 11 against 11 on a reduced pitch. We will try to speed up his adaptation so he picks up his game pace."
Meanwhile, Costa is recovering from a minor right thigh injury but Brazil doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said the winger will be fit in time for the World Cup.
Lasmar said Costa picked up the injury during Juventus' 2-1 win against Verona last weekend. He said the Brazilian reserve is not expected to start training on the pitch with his teammates until the end of the week.
Lasmar added that it's still unclear whether Costa will play in Brazil's pre-World Cup friendlies against Croatia on June 3 and against Austria one week later. But he said the forward will remain a part of the World Cup squad.
"He is being followed day by day so he can be cleared (to go to training)," Lasmar said. "Today we are not working with the hypothesis of taking players out (of the squad)."
Eleven players took part of Brazil's fitness training, including Neymar. Costa and right-back Fagner, who is also returning from injury, spent the afternoon with physiotherapists.
Brazil will stay in the Granja Comary training facilities in Teresopolis until Saturday, before moving camp to North London until June 8.
Left back Marcelo, midfielder Casemiro and striker Roberto Firmino will join the squad in London on Monday after Real Madrid and Liverpool meet in the Champions League final in Kiev.
Brazil is grouped with Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia in the World Cup.