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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May, 25, 2006

Injury setback puts Smicer's World Cup in doubt

PRAGUE, May 25 (Reuters) - Czech Republic midfielder Vladimir Smicer has suffered a setback in his recovery from a leg injury, putting his participation at the World Cup finals in doubt.

The Girondins Bordeaux player has been struggling for fitness since a February tendon injury behind his right knee.

At the Czech Republic training camp in Seefeld, Austria, the 33-year-old Smicer was again in discomfort and team doctors found a blood clot in his thigh muscle.

"Lasers, draining, special bandages, we're trying everything possible," the daily Mlada Fronta Dnes quoted team doctor Jiri Fousek as saying on its website on Thursday.

Fousek added it was unlikely Smicer would play in friendlies before the side's first game at the World Cup against the U.S. on June 12.

Smicer said he was determined to go the tournament, whether on the pitch or as the team's top fan.

"I thought that was it, that it was the end. I thought about going home...(But) the World Cup should be the peak of my career and it's worth the risk," he said.

"I feel a part of this team and would like to stay with it no matter what," he added.

Coach Karel Brueckner took several extra players to Seefeld in case replacements were needed and said he would wait to see how Smicer responded to treatment before deciding on any changes.

The Czech Republic also face Italy and Ghana in their World Cup group games.

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