Owen to have second operation in eight weeks
Newcastle striker Michael Owen will have to wait another eight weeks to have his ruptured cruciate ligament repaired.
The 26-year-old England international travelled to the Colorado clinic of specialist Dr Richard Steadman earlier this week, but will return home next week having undergone a procedure to treat a cartilage problem. He will then face a second trip.
Manager Glenn Roeder told the club's official website: 'I spoke to our club doctor Roddy McDonald after the first stage of the procedure had been done, and he explained to me what the second stage would involve, and that it could take place in eight weeks' time.'
Roeder is now stepping up his search for firepower.
Newcastle have been preparing themselves ever since Owen's right knee collapsed during England's 2-2 World Cup draw with Sweden on June 20 to be without their record signing until after Christmas.
Chairman Freddy Shepherd has already instructed the club's lawyers to investigate the matter of compensation with the Football Association's insurance policy covering only a proportion of his £103,000-a-week wages.
However, today's news means the £17million man could now miss the bulk of next season - a fractured metatarsal and a series of minor injuries limited him to just 11 appearances last time around - and has left Roeder desperately searching for a replacement.
Alan Shearer's retirement meant the Magpies were already geared up to recruit one major name, but their need for a second man of proven ability has increased further.
Unsettled Manchester United star Ruud van Nistelrooy has been in their sights all summer, but their interest in Feyenoord's Dirk Kuyt has cooled, while Tottenham's asking price for Jermain Defoe is prohibitive and they have been warned off Charlton's Darren Bent.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who is out of contract at Middlesbrough and has failed to agree a switch to Celtic, did come under consideration briefly, but Roeder has since dismissed him as a candidate.
Roeder has already offloaded Lee Bowyer to reduce the wage bill, but may have to whittle his squad down further before any additional cash is available.
Nicky Butt has returned from his loan spell at Birmingham, but will struggle to force his way into the team, while defender Jean-Alain Boumsong, who is yet to kick a ball for France in the World Cup is again being linked with a move back home, this time to Marseille.
With the club's opening fixture of the new campaign a little more than a week away - they will face either Lillestrom or Keflavik in the Intertoto Cup on July 15 - they may have to muddle through for the time being.
Shola Ameobi's return to training after a hip problem settled down has come as a boost, although he could yet struggle to return to match-fitness in time, leaving Roeder to select a forward line from Albert Luque and James Milner, or promote one of his midfielders to a more advanced role.