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Alex Morgan confident entering World Cup despite 2 months off

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Alex Morgan is ready to play soccer.

How many minutes and against which teams remain questions only the start of play will answer for the United States women's national team as it prepares for its Monday's FIFA Women's World Cup opener against Australia.

Morgan spoke to the media Sunday for the first time since the United States team arrived in Winnipeg and reiterated the same confidence in her availability that she expressed a week and a half earlier before the team departed for Canada.

"I'm as ready as I can be," Morgan said. "Mentally, I feel good. Emotionally, I'm ready for the roller-coaster, and physically -- the last year has been very demanding on the body, especially the last six months, so obviously, the injuries have not helped with my game fitness. But I'm hoping that these first couple of games, hopefully I'll get in and increase that game fitness to make me 90-minutes game fit."

One of the most recognizable stars in the sport and a forward who has scored 51 goals in 84 career appearances for her country, Morgan has not played since April 4 because of a bruised bone in her left knee.

The knee injury followed multiple left ankle injuries that limited her availability in the calendar year 2014, both to the national team -- including World Cup qualifying -- and Portland Thorns FC of the National Women's Soccer League.

United States coach Jill Ellis confirmed before Morgan spoke Sunday that the forward has participated fully in training session in recent days largely closed to the media.

"I feel 100 percent healthy," Morgan said. "I don't know the percentage fitness I feel. Obviously, I haven't played a game, a 90-minute game, in a long time.

"But I feel healthy, and I think throughout this tournament, I'm only going to get more game fit. And when push comes to shove, I can play 90 minutes."

Ellis declined to comment on her starting lineup against Australia, but she sounded like someone who didn't necessarily envision having Morgan on the field at the outset.

"I think she's able to play," Ellis said. "In terms of minutes, she's been out for quite a while. She's worked very, very hard on her fitness, but it's a little bit different for the games. So we'll meter that and monitor that, but as far as having her available, yes, very much so."

Morgan's status again brings the issue of the artificial turf used for all World Cup games in Canada to the forefront. Among the issues raised by players in a lawsuit filed, and later withdrawn, to contest the use of artificial turf was the physical toll they contend it takes, especially on body parts like knees.

"I guess it's just managing my body more," Morgan said of the issues she will face. "Just knowing that I might be more sore at times and knowing that I haven't had as much opportunity to play on turf, and have that effect that that takes on the body, as much as my teammates."

The United States will have three days off after the game against Australia before it returns to the field in Winnipeg against Sweden on June 12.