Mark Viduka is to have an injection to help him recover from a niggling Achilles problem but will not require full-scale surgery, Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan revealed on Friday.
Viduka, who has already been ruled out of Australia's World Cup qualifiers next month, will have the injection after Newcastle's Premier League match with Chelsea on Monday, which could decide the outcome of the title battle involving the Londoners and Manchester United.
Keegan is prepared to see Viduka miss the final game of the season, at Everton on May 11, in order to increase the 32-year-old's chance of being fully recovered for the start of pre-season training on July 7.
“Mark doesn't need an operation,” Keegan told reporters. “He is going to have an injection and we will decide whether it's before the game against Everton or after.
“We'll decide between the doctor at the club, myself and Mark. If he wants to play the last game and he is fit enough to do so, then he will have that choice.
“But it is an injection and he can go away then and by the time he comes back to us, he should be then free of any pain there and ready for pre-season.
“That's what he wants to do. Obviously, every player wants a good pre-season because it is the basis of the season, it's the foundation upon which the season is built for a player.”
Australia are due to face Iraq twice, Qatar and China in World Cup qualifiers next month.
Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek had already accepted that Viduka would not be involved in those matches. Verbeek has assured the forward, who had been on the verge of quitting the national side to prolong his club career, that he will not be expected to be involved in every match of the campaign to reach South Africa in 2010.
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