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Messi not listed on MLS injury report, expected to play Saturday

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Inter Miami star Lionel Messi is expected to play in Saturday’s match against D.C. United, making his return from a one-game absence from a brief injury.

Messi participated in team drills during Inter Miami’s practice Friday, and was not listed on the MLS injury report, both good signs he might play.

More important, it’s an even better sign a recent leg injury might not affect his Copa Ame�rica run this summer with Argentina.

“Well, we trained well yesterday, and we hope to train well today,â€� Inter Miami coach Tata Martino said before Friday’s practice. “We will define it after training, but we are optimistic about tomorrow’s match.â€�

How to watch Inter Miami vs. D.C. United live stream on Saturday

The match begins at 7:30 p.m. ET at Chase Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and streamed via MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

TICKETS: Experience Messi and Inter Miami in person at home against DC United

SHOP: Get the latest Messi and Inter Miami team gear from the MLS Store

How did Messi get injured?

Messi did not play in Inter Miami’s scoreless draw against Orlando City on Wednesday as a precaution after he collided with a CF Montreal player during a match last Saturday. 

Messi stretched his left leg to control a pass but Montreal’s George Campbell ran into him with momentum. It appeared Messi hyperextended his leg, but Inter Miami has defined the injury as a “knockâ€� or “blowâ€� due to the collision. It’s not a muscle or structural injury. 

“He felt fine. He had the blow, he could not maneuver well with his leg, it still bothered him [Thursday] to touch the area that bothers him,� Martino said. “So his absence from the match with Orlando is strictly because of the blow of the match.�

Inter Miami’s match against D.C. United will end a Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday stretch for the club. 

Three matches in a week, less than five weeks away from Copa America, wasn’t an ideal scenario for Messi to force an injury return. 

Messi leads MLS with 12 assists and is second with 10 goals scored despite missing five league games this season. 

Inter Miami earned a point from the tie with Orlando, and still lead the MLS Eastern Conference with 28 points.

What is Messi, Inter Miami, and Argentina’s upcoming schedule?

After the D.C. United game, Inter Miami has three matches remaining before Messi departs for Copa America 2024 to captain Argentina, the defending World Cup and Copa America champions.

Inter Miami visits the Vancouver Whitecaps on May 25, and will host Atlanta United on May 29 and St. Louis City SC on June 1.

Messi will join Argentina for two exhibitions before Copa America on June 9 against Ecuador in Chicago, and on June 14 against Guatemala in Landover, Maryland.

Messi and Argentina will play in the Copa America opener against Canada on June 20 in Atlanta, Chile on June 25 in New Jersey and Peru on June 29 in Miami during group play. 

This post appeared first on USA TODAY