Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez played down reports Luis Suarez requires knee surgery, backing his forward to return to form against Bolivia.
The star forward has scored just two goals in eight games for Barcelona this season, while he has netted three times in 12 World Cup qualifiers.
Reports suggested Suarez needed surgery on his knee, which has already sidelined him this campaign.
But Tabarez said the 30-year-old was ready to go, insisting Suarez would have been operated on if his injury was serious.
“If it was big enough as to be making sacrifices, they would have put him through surgery already,” he told a news conference on Sunday.
“He’s in a period where he made an amazing recovery but beyond that he didn’t play.
“And a player who comes here to face Argentina [in late August] and hasn’t played in three or four weeks, he has to make a sacrifice to make up for that lack of physical preparation.
“From that point of view, Luis already showed a lot of tests and that’s why we never discard him. He’s the first one not giving up on himself, he’s stubborn in a very positive way.”
— Selección Uruguaya (@Uruguay) October 8, 2017
Uruguay are second in CONMEBOL qualifying ahead of hosting Bolivia on the final matchday on Tuesday.
Suarez last scored for the national team in October last year but Tabarez, whose team are assured of at least a play-off spot, backed the forward.
“We keep insisting with him because he’s a player that appears from time to time,” he said.
“How many times during the last qualifiers we thought about substituting him and suddenly he scored goals.
“He has a potential that amazes us during his performances. He’s fit to play and the rest of it we can reduce to a spell. Football players have spells, football teams have spells, and luckily they always end.”
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