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Uruguay have been handed a major injury worry ahead of the World Cup after it was revealed that key striker Luis Suarez faces knee surgery after damaging his cartilage on Wednesday.
The 27-year-old Liverpool hitman, who scored 31 Premier League goals this past season as Brendan Rodgers’ men lost out to Manchester City in the race for the title, will go under the knife on Thursday.
Recovery from such an operation could take anything from between three and six weeks, which would leave him a doubt for Uruguay’s opening World Cup Group D clash against Costa Rica on June 14. England are their next opponents on June 19 with Italy the final group clash on Tuesday June 24.
Officials are optimistic that the former Ajax man will have recovered in around three weeks’ time but even with that timescale he must be a major doubt to be fully fit for at least the first two group matches for his country in Brazil.
There is a possibility that Suarez could play in at least the final group game against the Italians, while he will hope his team-mates can progress to the knockout stages to give him an even better chance of featuring in the tournament.
In his absence, coach Oscar Tabarez will likely field Edinson Cavani alongside veteran Diego Forlan, who collected the Golden Ball award for being the best player at South Africa 2010, in attack.
Uruguay are 2.60 to win Group D and 1.38 to qualify for the knockout stages.