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Arsenal's Eduardo could be back in 2008

  • Story Highlights
  • Eduardo could play again by end of year after breaking leg in horrific incident
  • Birmingham City defender Martin Taylor "mentally shattered" after incident
  • Arsenal's Croatian star Eduardo spends 25th birthday in London hospital
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LONDON, England -- Arsenal striker Eduardo could be playing again by the end of the year as he recovers from the horror tackle which left him with a career-threatening leg injury.

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Eduardo's injury in the 2-2 draw at Birmingham stunned his Arsenal teammates.

The Croatia international spent his 25th birthday on Monday in an unnamed London hospital after suffering a compound fracture of his leg following a tackle from Birmingham defender Martin Taylor during Arsenal's 2-2 draw on Saturday.

A statement on the Arsenal Web site read: "The club can confirm that following the incident during Saturday's match at Birmingham City, Eduardo has fractured his left fibula and sustained an open dislocation of his ankle joint in the same leg.

"He was immediately taken to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham where he underwent surgery on Saturday evening. The operation was successful, and Eduardo was transferred to a London-based hospital on Sunday afternoon.

"Earlier today, the orthopaedic surgeon and Arsenal medical staff assessed the extent of the damage and possible timescale for a full recovery.

"All being well, Eduardo will have his leg in plaster and using crutches for the next six to eight weeks.

"After that time, partial weight-bearing exercises will be scheduled into a slow rehabilitation process.

"It is hoped that Eduardo will be running again in six months' time and making a full recovery after nine months."

Taylor was shown a straight red card and his manager Alex McLeish said that he had been left "mentally shattered" by the experience.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger initially called for him to be banned for life before later retracting his statement.

Eduardo told Arsenal's official Web site that he did not remember the incident very well.

"All I remember is that when I fell, I looked down at my foot and it had turned the other way. The rest is just a blank. It was an unfortunate situation but these things can happen in football.

"I am unsure at the moment of the extent of the injury and how long I will be out of action for but I know that I won't be able to play for Arsenal for the rest of the season or be ready in time for the Euros this summer.

"But I'm not worried about that. My concentration and determination is on making as quick a recovery as possible. I am determined to overcome this injury."

Eduardo's Croatian international manager Slaven Bilic said he was stunned by the incident.

"This is horrible. The fact he won't play at the Euros is less important - most important is that he recovers as soon as possible."

Former Coventry defender David Busst suffered a similar horrific injury playing against Manchester United in April 1996 and said that Eduardo would carry emotional scars..

"It is an understatement to say that Eduardo's mental state will be fragile right now - he will be anxious and frightened, there will be little space in his head for optimism and hope," Busst wrote in The Guardian.

"It is vital that he is put in a positive state of mind as quickly as possible. My doctor said to me quite early on that my leg might have to be amputated, then that I might never walk or run again.

"That didn't help; it was not what I needed to hear. Eduardo needs to be set small, achievable goals. First to concentrate on getting back walking, then jogging, then working on his fitness, then with the ball."

Busst had 26 operations on multiple fractures to his leg and never played again but he believes Eduardo should be given as much information as possible, even if the news is bad.

"If it's a clean break then he has a chance of perhaps training again within a year but if there is severe muscle and tissue damage then the outlook is less optimistic.

"The doctors will have assessed the extent of the damage to Eduardo's leg by now and, taking his current emotional state into account, they may or may not have told him the diagnosis." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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