Bayern Munich defender Holger Badstuber has suffered a major setback on his comeback trail and will not return to the pitch until March 2014.
Badstuber, 24, suffered a cruciate ligament tear during Bayern's Bundesliga game against Borussia Dortmund in December. In May, club doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt had revealed the Germany international would not return this season as initially planned. "We will not take any risks," he told Munich newspaper TZ.
Last weekend, news emerged that Badstuber had suffered another tear and needed to undergo more surgery. Those reports, however, were not confirmed by the club. Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes said that while the player needed surgery, he had not torn his ligaments again. Bayern officials were confident Badstuber could return in December 2013.
On Wednesday morning, though, a Bayern press release revealed the extent of the damage to Badstuber's knee.
"On Monday 20 May 2013, Dr. Richard Steadman performed surgery on Holger Badstuber in Vail, Colorado. Due to extensive ruptures, the player's cruciate ligament is no longer functional and was removed.
Before the cruciate can be reconstructed using a surgical tissue graft replacement, the incisions and holes from the original op must heal completely," the press release read.
"Until then, Holger Badstuber will maintain his physical fitness in sports rehab. The doctors in charge of the case estimate the player will be fit again in around ten months. The injury is not career-threatening."
The severe damage to Badstuber's knee, however, effectively rules the Germany international out of the 2014 World Cup, with a comeback not likely to take place until March 2014. By then Badstuber will have missed 15 months of football.
Knee surgeon Dr Steadman is renowned in the football world for his work in helping the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Alan Shearer and Michael Owen recover from major injuries.