Allardyce: No risking Owen fitness
Sam Allardyce has insisted Michael Owen will not be rushed back into action to prevent him from exacerbating his injuries - and has definitely ruled him out of England's next two internationals.
Owen is expected to have surgery by world-renowned German surgeon Ulrike Muschaweck tomorrow or Friday but even her famed rapid recovery rates will not be enough to allow the striker to play for England at the start of next month.
Allardyce said Newcastle are aiming to have Owen back to face Tottenham on October 22 'at the very, very earliest' and England manager Steve McClaren has been told the striker will miss the Euro 2008 qualifiers against Estonia and Russia.
Owen has an abductor muscle tear and a suspected weakness in his stomach which could lead to a hernia, and both problems are likely to need keyhole surgery in Germany.
The Newcastle manager said: 'He will be back for the first game after the England internationals at the very, very earliest.
'If he does have surgery we will be managing two situations and one might clear up quicker than the other.'
There have been suggestions that Owen returned from a broken metatarsal too soon last year and that contributed to his picking up a serious knee injury at the World Cup.
Allardyce said there was no chance of that happening this time.
He added: 'Not now - he's more sensible than that and knows that the consequences of coming back too early are so grave if you get re-injured. You can extend the period of recovery so that it's twice as long.
'If our medical staff don't consider he is capable at that particular time via a specialist report and scan we will be patient and make sure he - and any player - is fully recovered before we stick him back into the fray.
'The old days of my time when someone simply stuck an injection into you are long gone.'
Allardyce said Owen was coping well with the latest in a long line of injuries.
'Michael has had that many disappointments that he manages it very well. He's strong mentally and he deals with it and gets back to playing as soon as he possibly can.
'The full picture is that he has not got a hernia but there may be a weakness in the stomach area which may have contributed to the abductor muscle tear.
'So while he is out for two or three weeks with that tear we are sending him to a specialist in Germany who will assess him and if there is any surgery needed to strengthen the area - not repair a hernia - that will be undertaken there.
'That should clear up both problems and allow Michael Owen to hopefully push on to play more and more games on a regular basis.
'For him and for us it's disappointing but we have to manage and get on with it.'
Allardyce confirmed McClaren had been kept informed, and added that there was no-one better than Muschaweck to operate on Owen.
He added: 'Her track record in that area is the best in the world, she's managed to develop her own procedure that takes that type of operation from what used to be six weeks' recovery to two or three so that's why we use her.'
Mark Viduka is likely to be fit to face Manchester City on Saturday after missing out on Newcastle's Carling Cup defeat to Arsenal.