Son wears mask at World Cup training, unsure when can play

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Son Heung-min wore a mask at training with the South Korea team on Wednesday ahead of World Cup in Qatar and later expressed doubt about his availability for the start of the tournament because of his facial injury.

The Tottenham forward hasn’t played since Nov. 2 when he sustained a fracture around his left eye following a collision with Marseille’s Chancel Mbemba in the Champions League. Son underwent surgery two days later, sparking concerns about his availability for the World Cup.

According to South Korean news agency Yonhap, Son's carbon mask that he wore at the practice session at Al Egla Training Facility in Doha had the number of his jersey — 7 — written in white on the left side.

Speaking at a news conference after training, Son said it was “difficult for me to say when I can play.”

“I will do the best I can under the circumstances," Son said according to Yonhap. "But it’s tough for me to say right now that I will play every game.”

South Korea's first game in Group H is against Uruguay on Nov. 24. Portugal and Ghana are also in the group.

Son said he was willing to take "risks" with his health.

“From fans’ perspective, I may be pushing this too far. But football players always compete under such risks,” Son added. “I just want to give our fans joy and hope."

South Korea coach Paulo Bento said at the weekend that Son's condition was being analyzed day-by-day by medical staff.

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The Associated Press