Fulham striker Clint Dempsey will not require surgery to repair his injured right knee, the English Premier League side announced on Tuesday, easing USA fears that he might be lost for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.

Dempsey, who plays forward as well as attacking midfielder, suffered moderate ligament damage but an MRI scan indicated there was not a torn ligament and that he might play for Fulham before the end of the season. That means he should be healthy when the Americans face England on 12 June in their FIFA World Cup opener.

"The news about Clint's injury is positive, especially given the fact that he will not require surgery," USA coach Bob Bradley said. "We are confident that Clint will be ready to be an important part of our team during the World Cup."

Dempsey, 26, was injured during a 2-0 Fulham loss Sunday at Blackburn. USA team medical staff have spoken daily with Fulham officials since then and will monitor Dempsey's progress in the months of rehabilitation to come. Dempsey has 17 goals in 60 caps for the Americans and seven goals for Fulham this season.

The USA squad is already dealing with injuries to star defender Oguchi Onyewu, who is rehabilitating after knee surgery, and forward Charlie Davies, who suffered two broken right leg bones and a lacerated bladder in a car crash.