LIVERPOOL STAR Luis Suarez is remaining upbeat after the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) said that his participation at the World Cup “is not ruled out” following knee surgery on Thursday.
In an email sent to Uruguayan journalist Federico Buysan, and which the latter posted on Twitter, Suarez wrote: “I’m doing great and am ready to run. Thanks to everyone and stay calm, I’ll make it”.
Earlier, in the first official statement to come out of the Uruguayan camp after news leaked that Suarez would require an operation, the AUF indicated that the player had “suffered an intense pain in his left knee” in training on Wednesday morning.
It was therefore decided that he should undergo “arthroscopic surgery to repair meniscus damage”.
The statement added that “no other damage to the knee was spotted” but the AUF pointed out that the 27-year-old took a knock to the same knee playing for Liverpool against Newcastle United on the final day of the Premier League season on May 11.
Suarez’s mother Sandra Diaz told local media that he would be released from hospital around lunchtime on Thursday.
He now faces a race against time to be ready for Uruguay’s World Cup campaign, which begins in a little over three weeks against Costa Rica in the northern Brazilian city of Fortaleza.
The AUF’s statement confirmed an earlier report by leading television journalist Martin Charquero, who wrote on Twitter that Suarez had “felt pain in training” before an MRI scan detected a meniscus problem.
Suarez was the top scorer in the Premier League in the season just finished with 31 goals and won both the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the English Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year prizes.
His club Liverpool will therefore be keeping a close eye on developments.
Experts said it could take anything from two to six weeks to recover from the keyhole surgery, but the AUF are remaining optimistic.
News of the injury generated widespread reaction on Twitter, with the former president of the AUF, Sebastian Bauza, writing: “STRENGTH LUIS!! Everyone in Uruguay is confident that you will recover!!!”
Uruguay, the 2011 Copa America winners, are hoping to be able to pair Suarez with Paris Saint-Germain’s Edinson Cavani in attack as they prepare to come up against England and Italy as well as Costa Rica in Group D.
Suarez was the top scorer in the South American World Cup qualifying group with 11 goals, although Uruguay only finished fifth and needed a play-off against Jordan to reach the finals. Suarez only arrived in the Uruguayan capital on Tuesday to join the squad, but insisted he was anxious to start training with his team-mates.
He enjoyed a stunning comeback in the 2013/14 Premier League campaign after his reputation plummeted for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and then biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in the previous season.
Suarez’s goals helped Liverpool finish second in the Premier League behind eventual champions Manchester City.
After playing Costa Rica on June 14, the two-time world champions face England in Sao Paulo on June 19 and then Italy in Natal five days later.
Before the finals get underway, Uruguay have two World Cup warm-up matches scheduled, against Northern Ireland on May 30 and Slovenia on June 4, with both games to be held in Montevideo.
Suarez is the second South American star battling to be ready for the World Cup.
Colombian striker Radamel Falcao damaged cruciate ligaments in January while playing for his club side Monaco in the French Cup and is in a race against time to recover.
Falcao said on Sunday he was still not sure whether he would be ready. All 32 teams have to announce their final 23-man squads by 2 June.