(Reuters) - Lionel Messi, recovering from a bad knock to his back 10 days before Argentina’s opening Copa America Centenario match, was feeling less pain on Saturday, team doctor Daniel Martinez said.
“Messi is better, with less pain than last night,” Martinez told reporters after Messi suffered bruising to his lower back and rib cage during Friday’s 1-0 friendly win over Honduras.
But Martinez added that he could not say how long Messi’s recovery would take.
“We’ve got to take it day-by-day... It’s an area where it hurts to move normally, (like) get up, turn and cough,” he was quoted as saying in the Buenos Aires sports daily Ole (www.ole.com.ar).
Messi was kneed in the back by Honduras substitute Oliver Morazan during a warm-up game for the June 3-26 tournament in the United States played in the Argentine city of San Juan and had to be substituted, walking off in pain in the 64th minute.
He missed a light training session on Saturday and was not in any case going to travel with the rest of the squad directly to Santa Clara in California where Argentina meet Chile in their Group D opener on June 6.
Messi was instead due to fly to Barcelona, where he has to attend court in a tax evasion case on Thursday, before joining up again with the squad, though Martinez said if it was up to him he would advise him against traveling on Saturday.
Argentina also face Bolivia and Panama at the tournament, which marks the centenary of the former South American Championship.
Writing by Rex Gowar; Editing by Ken Ferris