Luis Suarez injury: Liverpool's Uruguay striker faces battle to be fit for England World Cup clash after emergency knee surgery

England take on Suarez's Uruguay in Sao Paolo on 19 June

The Uruguay Football Association today issued a deeply pessimistic statement on Luis Suarez’s prospects of facing England in their group match at the World Cup next month.

The AUF has declared only that “his participation at the World Cup has not been ruled out” Suarez underwent after knee surgery on an injury sustained in the last game of Liverpool’s season.

The kick, which leaves Suarez a doubt to start against Roy Hodgson’s team in Brazil 28 days from now was almost certainly delivered by Newcastle United’s Paul Dummett, who was sent off after catching Suarez’s left knee with his trailing leg in a clumsy challenge three minutes from time at Anfield on 11 May.

Dummett, whose red card was later rescinded, tonight found himself the victim of death threats on social media from Uruguay fans after the AUF effectively blamed Newcastle for Suarez’s operation. The 22-year-old defender, who was called up by Wales today for a friendly against the Netherlands on  4 June, referred the threats to the football authorities

Though Suarez’s mother suggested her son would be back after two to three weeks following keyhole arthroscopy surgery on his right knee at a private hospital in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo today, the AUF provided no such assurances. It said Suarez had felt “an intense pain in his left knee” while warming up during the first training session with Oscar Tabarez’s squad on Wednesday morning. The AUF linked this to the blow on the same knee against Newcastle.  Suarez sustained at least one other kick during that match.

The pain had subsided during the 11-day period of rest before Suarez joined the Uruguay squad, but it flared up again immediately he resumed football work.

A three-week recovery period would mean Suarez returning eight days before England face Uruguay on 19 June, and the immediate dismay felt in the South American country today reflected the national team’s heavy dependence on the twin strike force of Suarez and Edinson Cavani.

 

The Uruguayans are taking heart from the fact that Suarez  – who admitted last season that his desire to play means he starts Liverpool games while less than fully fit – rapidly reaches full potential when he has been out of action.

After a 10-game suspension meant he missed the first six matches of last season, Suarez scored six times in five games. He started all but one of the season’s remaining matches, in all competitions.

However, the problem on this occasion is that Suarez will be unable to do anything other than physiotherapy work in the next few weeks.

Leading knee surgeon Tim Spalding said that damage to the external meniscus on the outside of the knee, which Suarez has sustained, is potentially far more serious than a need to repair the internal meniscus. Quick returns to fitness are more typical when the internal meniscus has been damaged.

“Surgery only 20 days before the World Cup: that’s serious,” Spalding said. “I imagine the decision-making was quite hard. They will have wondered, ‘Could we get him back to 80 to 90 per cent, without risking surgery? Is that enough?’”

The indirect beneficiaries of Suarez lacking his full firepower in Brazil include Liverpool, who could find the Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez, making a substantial play for him in July. Perez loves to buy the next big thing and a more subdued Suarez may be less appealing to him.

But Hodgson is the one who will be doing metaphorical backflips. There can be no denying the profound consequences of a less-than-fit Suarez, because Uruguay’s entire team is still set up around him and Cavani. Tabarez operates an obdurate 4-4-2 system, grinding through games with no sophistication and just waiting for the opportunity to get one of the pair free in space. “As a team we want to be as we were in South Africa [in the 2010 World Cup] – difficult to play against,” Tabarez said recently. ”I don’t aspire to anything else.”

Suarez's 31 goals saw him win the golden boot this season Suarez's 31 goals saw him win the golden boot this season The South American football specialist Tim Vickery observes in the latest edition of World Soccer that Tabarez’s squad are – strikers aside – arguably past their best. Semi-finalists last time and tipped to go far again, they need an early win against Costa Rica – the fixture Suarez really will struggle to play in – allowing them to approach England and Italy with a defensive outlook and using Suarez and Cavani on the counter-attack.

An anguished Uruguay – where the AUF was coming under attack from journalists for its initial “wall of silence” over the Suarez operation – is holding its breath.

News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
Boris Johnson may be manoeuvring to succeed David Cameron
i100
News
Band was due to resume touring this month
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
i100
Sport
Tom Cleverley
Loan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Extras
indybest 9 best steam generator irons
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering