Tom Peck: England fans rejoice - it's the new metatarsal, and Wayne Rooney hasn't succumbed to it yet

A meniscus injury had threatened to ruin Luis Suarez's World Cup this summer

Like the snood, the technicolour boot and the patch of Vicks' Vaporub on the chest, pre-World Cup footballing injuries are no less subject to the tides of fashion. With one of England's many potential nemeses, Luis Suarez, suddenly under the knife – or more accurately the laser – it's fair to speculate. Is the meniscus the new metatarsal?

In a global sense, yes. With apologies for the confusing foot metaphor, the metatarsal was only ever a particular Achilles' heel – confusing foot metaphor notwithstanding – for the English, disabling as it did the talismanic Beckham before the 2002 World Cup, and the even more talismanic Rooney before 2006.

But, in laying down Anfield's golden child and arguably then the world's great centre-forward Fernando Torres before the 2010 World Cup and now Suarez, the meniscus has taken over.

The meniscus is a shock-absorbing cartilage in the knee which stops the thigh bone grinding against the shin bone when it impacts, twists and turns. They are crucial. A meniscus injury can be almost nothing – see John Terry, 2012, back after two weeks. They can be of moderate significance – see Torres, 2010, out for seven weeks, and the problem recurred. Or they can be agonising, and ultimately terminal – see Ledley King's entire career.

Of course, any damage at all to Suarez is good news for England fans, except for those who are also fans of Liverpool, but for the handballing, racially abusing, arm-biting but above all prolific goal-scoring Uruguayan, the prognosis appears positive, if you believe his family. "Back in two to three weeks," his mother Giovanna Suarez said.

It appears he first noticed his injury in his last game for Liverpool. He says it has "niggled" in training, so he underwent a scan and then comparatively minor surgery.

"To tear the meniscus there has to be impact. You have to rotate it, grind it," said Tim Spalding, a leading UK knee surgeon who has performed many operations on Premier League players. If Suarez did do the damage in the match against Newcastle United it may be difficult for his doctors to have identified exactly when, given the number of injury red herrings he likes to throw into the mix.

"I would think it's a small flap tear of the meniscus, where a small edge of it is catching, and so there is less confidence in pivoting and turning," said Spalding. "The expectation would be, with a small tear to the meniscus, that you remove it and forget about it, and 90 per cent of the time everything should be fine."

Much is made of Suarez's powers of recovery. Some reports suggest he has never missed a match through injury – only through tactics and, all too commonly, suspension. Overly optimistic England fans should bear in mind that against Norwich two months ago, if his contorted facial expressions were anything to go by, he went down having suffered a double unanaesthetised amputation, but when the ball broke favourably up the pitch, he was better in less than a second.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform