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Dutch squad trio face injury race

story.vaart.jpg
Dutch midfielder Van der Vaart (center) hopes to play before the end of the season.

LONDON, England -- Hamburg's Dutch international midfielders Rafael van der Vaart and Nigel De Jong are both having surgery on Tuesday in a bid to be fit for the World Cup finals in Germany.

Van der Vaart is having a second operation on a broken ankle, while De Jong will undergo knee surgery.

A third midfielder from the 33-man Dutch squad, Hedwiges Maduro of Ajax, will also be sidelined for up to a month, his club said on Monday.

Van der Vaart underwent a first operation after breaking his ankle in a Bundesliga game against Cologne in December but has suffered from persistent pain since then.

He still aims to be fit to play on May 13 against Werder Bremen, missing only six to eight days of training after the operation.

"I will play in at least the last game of the season," said the 23-year-old.

Also undergoing the knife in Amsterdam on Tuesday will be Van der Vaart's club and country teammate De Jong, who will undergo an operation on his right knee.

"It's very likely that he will not play for the club again this season," Hamburg said in a statement.

Maduro sustained an ankle injury during Ajax's 4-2 win over Feyenoord on Sunday.

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