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Van der Vaart injury fears played down

Hamburg are relaxed about the fitness prospects of Rafael van der Vaart and Tolgay Arslan after the midfield duo picked up injuries in a friendly against Lok Tashkent on Monday.

Netherlands international Van der Vaart was substituted with a muscular problem in his thigh just 35 minutes into the match against the Uzbek side in Abu Dhabi, part of Hamburg's winter training schedule.

Although club doctor Phliip Catala-Lehnen said that Van der Vaart would not return to team training until next week, the player himself played down any talk of him missing the start of the second half of the Bundesliga campaign.

"I don't think it's that bad. It's not the same injury again," the midfielder told the press at the team hotel, while Hamburg media director Jorn Wolf added: "He pulled a muscle. He will be ready for the Nurnberg match on January 20."

The injury added to a tough start to Van der Vaart's year, who is currently going through a high-profile split with his wife, Sylvie.

Arslan, 22, received a blow to his knee during the game, and Catala-Lehnen said: "We are hoping Arslan can return during the training camp."

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