Neymar fractures vertebra, out of World Cup
Brazil's leading scorer suffers back injury late in match vs. Colombia
Brazil will be without star striker Neymar for the remainder of the FIFA World Cup, after he fractured his vertebra late in the team's 2-1 quarter-final win over Colombia on Friday.
Neymar was carried off the pitch on a stretcher and appeared to be in considerable pain.
Replays showed Colombia's Juan Camillo Zuniga kneeing Neymar in the back while challenging for the ball. It happened in the 87th minute.
"He was crying out in pain," Brazil coach Luis Felipe Scolari said after the match. "It won't be easy to recover."
Brazil's team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar confirmed hours after the match that Neymar had fractured his vertebra and won't return to the tournament.
"It's not serious in the sense that it doesn't need surgery, but he'll need to immobilize it to recover," said Lasmar.
"Unfortunately, he's not going to be able to play." The recovery period could take at least a few weeks.
At first, it seemed like Neymar may have been able to return for the final, if Brazil made it that far. But that's no longer the case. Losing the striker — Brazil's leading scorer with four goals — will be a big blow to home team's title chances.
Neymar had been playing with a knee and thigh injury after a rough match in the Round of 16 against Chile.
Brazil faces Germany in the semifinals on Tuesday in Belo Horizonte.
With files from Reuters