Brazil deny report Neymar could still play despite broken vertebrae

Jamie McDonald

In the pantheon of terrible ideas, this one is right near the top.

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The idea that Neymar could return to the field before the end of the World Cup is unthinkable, but some officials close to the Brazilian team are holding out hope that the star could endure a series of treatments and medications that would allow him to play in the final, should the team make it that far.

A report from indicates that doctors believe Neymar's fractured L3 vertebrae occurred in the ideal place for a rapid recovery. Yes, essentially the argument is that if one wants to break his back, it's here where you'd want it to happen. This could potentially lead to a ghoulish situation where a young, promising star is returning to the pitch some five weeks before his diagnosis deems safe.

There's no indication that this plan will be put into place nor is there a credible source from the team willing to speak on the matter publicly. In addition, the alleged move would only take place should Brazil manage to defeat Germany in the semifinal round. Any prospective decision would require a green light from Neymar, which seems a long shot at best.

Neymar's manager is distancing himself from the report saying that he's focused on the recovery of his client, but it's clear these discussions are happening behind closed doors. A procedure would involve isolating the 22-year-old's vertebrae to return full feeling to his extremities, then giving him a series of injections so he can play through the pain.

Forget some misguided idea of "toughness," the alleged plan is something Dr. Frankenstein would dream up.

Doctors have been cautious about which pain medication they're administering to Neymar, to ensure he's not being given something on the FIFA list of banned substances. There is no suggestion that doctors have avoided using prescribed treatments in order to ensure his potential viability for the final.

The risk for re-injury is very high, and the procedure would almost assuredly slow his full recovery. The biggest risk to Neymar would be a torsion injury caused by returning to the pitch and quickly rotating his body before the vertebrae has a chance to heal. For now, all sides are avoiding openly discussing the possibility, but the idea is being floated and that's scary.

Update: The Brazilian Football Confederation are denying there's any chance of Neymar returning.

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