Hargreaves sent to Dr Steadman to cure ills
Owen Hargreaves has gone to see famed knee surgeon Dr Richard Steadman in a bid to cure the tendinitis problem that is threatening to wreck his career.
The Manchester United midfielder has not been fully fit since he joined the Old Trafford outfit from Bayern Munich last summer.
Although the 27-year-old was able to play in last season's Champions League final triumph over Chelsea, the pain he experienced when he returned to training this summer was as bad as ever.
United have tried to be patient, giving Hargreaves a course of injections they felt would allow him to play pain-free for the remainder of the season.
But it is now clear the move has not worked, leaving them little alternative than to send the 27-year-old to Colorado for a meeting with Steadman - who names Ruud van Nistelrooy and Michael Owen among his high-profile clients - after consultations in Sweden and London appear to have drawn a blank.
"We have been trying to manage the situation but that has not given us an answer,'' United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said. "In the past 10 days we have sent him to a specialist in Sweden and one in London. There has been no real answer there so now he is in Colorado to see Dr Steadman.
"We are trying to get to the root of it. We have been frustrated and patient but we really need to speed that up now. That is why we have sent him to the best available people to try and get a general opinion about where we go from here.''
United will wait for Dr Steadman to deliver his verdict before deciding the next course of action for Hargreaves.
No-one is mentioning retirement but there must be a nagging fear that the Calgary-born star will never be rid of a problem he first became aware of prior to his £18million move to United.
"Of course it is difficult when you are out for such a long time through injury,'' said Ferguson. "It is frustrating for the lad and we want to try and help him.
"With tendinitis at the front of the knee, when he gets involved in football-related training, the pain really surfaces.''
It is no surprise United and Hargreaves are placing their faith in Steadman, even though most of his football-related work has centred around cruciate ligament injuries.
"He started his career working with skiers,'' said Ferguson. "Because he has dealt with so many knee injuries, he has obviously acquired a great knowledge.
"He is not associated with this type of injury but the boy has gone on for too long just hoping injections will do the trick.''