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May 22, 2014

Luis Suarez: I will be at World Cup

Uruguay star Luis Suarez underwent a surprise surgery to repair his meniscus, raising questions over his fitness for the World Cup.

Luis Suarez said he is working to be 100 percent ready for the World Cup after the Uruguayan FA (AUF) confirmed he had undergone an operation to remove damaged meniscus from his left knee.

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Liverpool striker Suarez, 27, felt pain in the knee during training on Wednesday with his international squad in Montevideo, and after an immediate scan the procedure took place at the Medica Uruguaya hospital in the Uruguayan capital.

"Be calm -- I am going to get there," he told Ovacion. "Thanks for all your support. I am going to work really hard in the coming days to be at 100 percent and help my teammates!"

AUF president Wilmar Valdez said Suarez could return to training in just over a fortnight.

"We know the surgery was a success and that the injury is not serious. We have to wait and see how he recovers," he told media including Ovacion. "We had very little time to react and, without knowing the extent of the injury, we didn't want to raise the alarm to the public.

"These are injuries that, considering Suarez's fitness and if the recovery is good, will not take long for him to return to play. We have to calculate if he will arrive for the first, second or third [group game at the World Cup].

"We know that normally the recovery period, if all goes well, is around 15 days to return to training. We all know what Luis represents to the national team and more so, considering the great form he was in. Considering how valuable he is to the national team, it is a big concern for us."

An official statement released by the AUF on Thursday had earlier confirmed he was still in contention for the World Cup.

"The AUF medical service states that yesterday, Wednesday May 21, the player Luis Suarez, after a normal warm-up, suffered intense pain in his left knee while working with the football," the statement read. "An MRI scan confirmed a partial injury to the external meniscus in his left knee. This morning, a partial removal of the meniscus was carried out via arthroscopy. There is no confirmation of other issues in the knee. His participation in the World Cup in Brazil is not ruled out."

The statement also suggested that the meniscus issue was related to an incident that occurred during Liverpool's final Premier League game of the 2013-14 season at home to Newcastle.

"It should be highlighted that the player received a direct blow to his left knee in the last game of the Premier League season with Liverpool, on Sunday May 11, with pain that eased with rest from sporting action after the season had ended," AUF added.

Suarez, the PFA and Football Writers' Player of the Year after scoring 31 goals for Liverpool, now faces a race against time to be fit for his country's group games against Costa Rica on June 14 and then England five days later.

The player's sister, Giovanna Suarez, admitted that at the very least his preparation for the tournament would now be severely complicated.

"The problem is that these days he won't be able to play, and will only be able to do physiotherapy," she said. "He underwent a magnetic resonance and it came out that he had to undergo surgery. It was that quick."

The loss of Suarez for any of their three group games would be a blow to Uruguay's hopes, especially given they must also face Italy in their final opening stage game on June 24.

Real Sociedad's Gonzalo Castro and Nacional's Alvaro Fernandez are the stand-by strikers for Oscar Tabarez's squad, which currently has 25 players and must be cut by two for the finals.

Information from The Associated Press and Press Association was used in this report.

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