Keane to undergo cartilage surgery


Robbie Keane is to enter hospital tomorrow for a cartilage operation which could keep him out of the Republic of Ireland's European championship game against Yugoslavia on November 18th.

Keane sustained the injury in a freak incident at the Ireland team hotel on the eve of last Wednesday's European win over Malta at Lansdowne Road.

He went on to play in the game, scoring the opening two goals in a 5-0 success, but retired shortly before the finish with a knee injury which, it was thought, he had sustained in the course of the game.

"In fact, he hurt his knee when he stretched to put on the remote television control in his bedroom in Dublin last Tuesday," said Wolves manager, Mark McGhee.

"It's one of those freak things which happen from time to time and in this case, everybody was unaware of the seriousness of the problem. We intended to play him against Portsmouth at the weekend and it wasn't until Friday, that we discovered the full extent of the damage.

"It's a very big blow for the club for we must now go into some important games without a player who is very influential in our team."

With the advance of micro surgery, players can often be back in action within a fortnight of cartilage operations. In other instances, however, recuperation can take at least another two weeks.

Keane's loss accentuates McGhee's difficulties at a time when he is already without the former England striker, Steve Bull. Bull is not expected back for another month after undergoing surgery on his knee.

It means that David Connolly is now the only striker available to McGhee and coincidentally, Connolly may also be the one to benefit if Ireland's game goes ahead, as planned on November 18th, at a venue yet to be announced.