Real's Higuain may be out of action for four months

AFP, Wednesday 12 Jan 2011

Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain could be out of action for four months following surgery. Operating doctor says full recovery may take up to one year

Gonzalo Higuain

Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain could be out of action for four months following surgery and may not return to full fitness for a year, a Spanish newspaper said Wednesday, quoting the doctor who carried out the operation.

Doctors at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital on Tuesday "successfully" performed keyhole surgery to fix a slipped disc that has sidelined the 23-year-old Argentine since late November, Real said on its website.

The doctor who led the surgery, Richard Fessler, said the player could return to competition in four months, the sports daily Marca reported.

Fessler said Higuain would continue to feel some pain but it should not prevent him from playing. But he did say that it may be another year before he is fully recovered, Marca reported.

Real revealed at the beginning of December that the player had sustained a slipped disc that could require an operation. At the time, the club said he could be sidelined for two months.

Spanish media has speculated that Real could bring in another striker in the January transfer window. But Real chairman Florentino Perez has reportedly ruled out any such move.

Higuain, who was signed from River Plate in 2007, normally partners Cristiano Ronaldo in the front line and has been coach Jose Mourinho's choice ahead of French international Karim Benzema.

He has scored seven times in 12 appearances in the Spanish league this season.

Real are currently second in Spain's top flight, two points behind Barcelona.

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