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Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon returns to training, still a question mark for Costa Rica

Claudio Villa

SB Nation's 2014 World Cup Bracket'

While it seems as though nobody is declaring Gianluigi Buffon 100 percent healthy and ready to return to the starting lineup, Italy's legendary goalkeeper has taken a step in the right direction on Tuesday in his recovery from a sprained ankle.

Buffon, along with Mattia De Sciglio and Andrea Barzagli, returned to training Tuesday afternoon. Buffon, who missed out on Italy's 2-1 win over England over the weekend, is still a question mark for the Azzurri's game against Costa Rica on Friday. But you have to think with him returning to training so soon after the initial injury occurred, there's at least a chance that San Gigi will be back between the posts three days from now.

This is what Italy's team doctor, Enrico Castellacci, said about Buffon's injury at a press conference on Monday:.

"Gigi [Buffon] has had a specific trauma, which is not your usual sprained ankle," Italy's team doctor Enrico Castellacci said. "It has affected the knee but fortunately, the knee ligament is fine. His condition will be evaluated. He is having specific therapy and we will decide whether or not to do some X-rays. We will try to have him available as soon as possible.

"We are optimistic that he will have a speedy recovery but his health comes first. I cannot say if he will be able to make it for the game against Costa Rica. After the injury, Buffon told me he was relieved because for a moment he feared he may have to miss the World Cup."

(Source: The Guardian)

If Buffon isn't able to be fully fit for Italy's game against Costa Rica on Friday, then the way Salvatore Sirigu played against England will certainly calm a few fears. The former Palermo keeper was easily one of Italy's best players on Saturday, making big save after big save to ensure the Azzurri came away with the three points.

It's also rumored that manager Cesare Prandelli will make a few changes regardless of Buffon's status for the match with Costa Rica, which stunned Uruguay 3-1 in their Group D opener. Barzagli could be given a game off and replaced by Juventus teammate Leonardo Bonucci, while Matteo Darmian could be moved to the left side of the Azzurri's defense which would allow Giorgio Chiellini to get back to his better central defender spot.