Lampard joins rush to 'placenta healer'

Chelsea midfielder flies to Belgrade seeking quick fix for his torn thigh muscle

Frank Lampard has become the latest Premier League star to seek the healing hands of the mysterious horse placenta woman Marijana Kovacevic. The Chelsea midfielder was in Serbia yesterday for treatment on his torn thigh muscle that has ruled him out of his club's game against Wolves today.

The reputation of Kovacevic as a miracle healer is spreading like wildfire through the Premier League with Glen Johnson and Robin van Persie having already travelled to Belgrade this week. Amid intense media interest in her, Kovacevic has gone to ground but it is understood Lampard was able to make contact with her via Chelsea's 20-year-old reserve team goalkeeper Slobodan Rajkovic, who has been on loan with FC Twente in the Netherlands but has recently returned for treatment.

Lampard tore a thigh muscle in training on Thursday last week before England's friendly against Brazil in Qatar and flew back to London. He is the second England international after Johnson to visit Kovacevic, who uses fluids derived from horse placenta in internal and external processes to speed up the healing process. It is understood he went with the blessing of Chelsea's medical department.

Scrutiny of Kovacevic by health officials in Belgrade has caused her to move her premises and she is said only to be responding to phone calls and text messages from phone numbers she recognises. It is thought that Lampard took a private flight to Belgrade to see her, unlike Van Persie and Johnson.

It was originally claimed by Chelsea that the player would be out of action for two weeks although privately it was feared it would be closer to six weeks. Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti did not disclose Lampard's whereabouts yesterday but he did say that he hoped Lampard would recover in time to face Arsenal next Sunday. That the player is visiting Kovacevic suggests it is not as simple as Chelsea first thought.

The Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger however yesterday admitted he doubts the controversial therapy will do any good, even though he gave Van Persie permission to undergo the horse placenta treatment.

"I am not a fan but I respect the freedom of everybody to be treated in the way they want to be treated," he said. "I've seen a few bizarre treatments. I've seen enough to write a book.

"Since I am in sport, when you have a muscle problem it's 21 days. I have never seen anybody shorten that. People have said, 'He can play in five days' but then he can only play with injections and there is a recurrence of the muscular injury, always. You cannot shorten it."

Placenta forwards: Other patients

*Robin van Persie (Arsenal) ankle ligament, Fabio Aurelio (Liverpool) calf, Yossi Benayoun (Liverpool) hamstring, Glen Johnson (Liverpool) calf, Albert Riera (Liverpool), hamstring, Zoran Tosic (Man United) leg.

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