Sunil hanging onto thin hopes

Sunil hanging onto thin hopes

Striker SV Sunil’s World Cup hopes, which appeared doomed a few days ago, have brightened considerably, although the Kodava faces a race against time to prove his fitness for the year-end bash at Bhubaneswar.

The 29-year-old, who was seen walking with the help of crutches during an exhibition game on October 10 at the renovated Kalinga Stadium (World Cup hosts), met renowned doctor Anant Joshi in Mumbai last weekend for a proper diagnosis of his injury.

The doctor brought smile on the face of Sunil when he ruled out surgery, suggesting a rehabilitation programme as the injury had already begun to heal by itself.

“We met Sunil two days ago and we think he should be fit for training within the next 7-10 days. We had a look at him and while he did sustain a high-grade lateral collateral ligament injury, we came to the conclusion that he wouldn’t be requiring surgical intervention to correct the problem,” said Joshi.

“We ran a few tests (knee bending exercises and so on) and his healing progress is quite satisfactory at the moment. We are confident that he will be able to play within 15 days. For the time being, we have asked him to follow a complete two-week physiotherapy and we will know whether he has completely healed after that. There was not much swelling when we saw him.”

Sunil, who will undergo the rehab under Shrikant Iyengar in New Delhi, was hopeful of making it to World Cup which starts on November 28.

“I don’t want to think too far ahead. It’s never easy for a player to return from an injury and play a major tournament. My main focus now is to attain full fitness. I’ve been asked to prove my fitness in a month’s time. I’ll work really hard to pass it. Fingers crossed until then.”