Rossi was not dropped because of medical concerns

The Associated Press
Prandelli: Rossi knew he wasn't in Italy WC squad
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Cesare Prandelli, coach of the Italian national soccer team, leads a training session at the Coverciano center, near Florence, Italy, Monday, June 2, 2014. Giuseppe Rossi will miss out on the World Cup once again. The American-born Italy forward was among the players cut from the Azzurri's final World Cup squad on Saturday, in a repeat of what happened to him four years ago. Cesare Prandelli apparently judged that Rossi hadn't fully recovered from his latest right knee injury in January. Rossi has always been one of Prandelli's favorite players, but the coach opted not to gamble on his fitness despite the forward having been the Italian league's leading scorer before getting injured. (AP Photo/Fabrizio Giovannozzi)

FLORENCE, Italy (AP) -- Italy team doctor Enrico Castellacci has backed Giuseppe Rossi's claim that he was not omitted from the World Cup squad because of ongoing knee problems.

Rossi took to Twitter on Monday to dismiss speculation that he was dropped because of concerns he missed almost half the season because of injuries.

''The work which was done with Rossi and for Rossi was extensive, without any superficiality,'' Castellacci said on Tuesday. ''Like the footballer, we have never denied that from a medical point of view he was quite good and had recovered well enough.

''Against him were decisions of the technical, physical and psychological sort, that weren't easy.''

Rossi was leading Serie A with 14 goals in 17 matches for Fiorentina until he reinjured his right knee in January, sidelining him for four months.

Castellacci also says goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu has not broken his ribs and will make the trip to Brazil, while Mario Balotelli's complaints of pain are also not as serious as reported and he was available for the friendly against Luxembourg on Wednesday.

Sirigu was taken to hospital on Monday with pain in his ribs after his final save in an evening training session.

''Fortunately, tests have ruled out fractures,'' Castellacci said. ''The lad has badly bruised the right 11th rib, with post-impact swelling. It is a tedious and painful injury, but manageable. Now, we are much more relaxed. In short, there is no reason to alert possible replacements.''

Sirigu will refrain from making any diving saves in the next few practices.

Balotelli has trained normally amid reports he has a groin injury.

''The player is training, he overstretched adductor muscles, we are managing it calmly,'' Castellacci said. ''He is fit to play tomorrow, we will see if the coach decides not to use him. But he doesn't have problems which would mean he can't play.

''It seems excessive to talk about a groin injury, but obviously everything can change.''