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Crew captain Jonathan Mensah carted off field during international break

The Ghana center back was on the receiving end of a collision in the box in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Columbus Crew is in the first weekend away from league play in a two-week international break. Unfortunately for head coach Caleb Porter’s side, it doesn’t mean players are immune from injury. On Sunday, in an African Cup of Nations qualifying match, defender and captain Jonathan Mensah left the field after a collision in the penalty area.

Ghana faced Central Africa Republic in an early qualifying match and in the 55th minute, Central Africa Republic had a free kick in the team’s offensive half of the field. In a match tied 1-1, a cross was sent into the penalty box that Ghana easily cleared away. In the 18-yard box, Central Africa Republic player Peter Guinari ran in and collided with Mensah, halting the match.

After receiving attention, Mensah was placed into an ambulance in the 60th minute to receive further assessment from medical professionals. As of publishing, there’s no update from the Ghana Football Association about injuries sustained.

In the last year, Mensah hasn’t seen much of the field for Ghana after being a staple for the team’s defense in past years. Ghana named Mensah to the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in the winter of 2022, but Mensah didn’t get on the field. When Ghana faced Nigeria in the final round for Africa’s World Cup qualification, Mensah wasn’t called up to play in the home-and-away aggregate contest.

Sunday’s match is the 70th cap for Mensah with the Black Stars. During that time, Mensah played in the 2014 World Cup and has been an important piece for Ghana.

With the Crew, Mensah has started every match of the 2022 season, playing alongside Josh Williams and newcomer Miloš Degenek at center back. Injuries hit both Williams and Degenek so far this season, making the spot one of the more fluid positions for the Black & Gold.

Elsewhere on the field, Columbus has a long list of current injury issues. After the Crew’s 2-1 victory against Atlanta United, midfielder Artur, winger Yaw Yeboah and fullback Pedro Santos each suffered injuries. Each player is slated to miss time after the break, although Porter said there’s a chance that the trio could return sooner rather than later.

Additionally, midfielder Lucas Zelarayán received a three-to-five week recovery timeline for a thigh problem. Due to the addition to the list, Zelarayán didn’t travel to face Atlanta United before the international break and subsequently missed his call-up to the Armenian National Team.

There’s no report from the Black & Gold, as Mensah is still with Ghana while the Crew is off from MLS play. If the injury causes time off the field, Williams and Degenek are the likely duo to start, which will be a first for the two in 2022.