Civelli out until 2010

LUCIANIO Civelli will not play again until 2010 after an operation exposed the full extent of his knee ligament damage.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

LUCIANIO Civelli will not play again until 2010 after an operation exposed the full extent of his knee ligament damage.

It was revealed 10 days ago that the Argentinean would be out of action until at least Christmas but Ipswich Town last night admitted it is unlikely he will be back until next year.

The unfortunate Civelli, who wears the number 13 shirt, suffered the horrendous injury after a freak fall in the dying moments of Town's 1-1 draw with Burnley a fortnight ago.

Civelli has multi ligament damage to his right knee, with ruptured anterior cruciate ligaments along with extensive damage to his lateral collateral ligaments and a torn cartilage.

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The 22-year-old underwent a two and a half hour operation in London on Friday and spent three days in hospital before returning to Suffolk.

Town physio Matt Byard “It's a complex injury and has to be carefully managed and we are fortunate that we have two of the leading knee specialists in the country in Mark Bowditch and Andy Williams working with us.

“Mark assessed Luca within an hour of the injury taking place and then discussed the way forward with Andy before Andy did the operation last Friday.

“We are pleased with the way the surgery has gone and he is now on crutches and at home in Ipswich and being looked after by his family.

“It's obviously a long term injury and we are not expecting him to return to training until the new year. He will obviously need time after that to build up his match fitness but the knee, post surgery, is strong and stable and we anticipate Luca completing a full recovery.”

More decisions have been made on the future of Town academy players with another two being told they will not be kept on, although Bermudan international Reggie Lambe has been offered a one year deal.

Defender Paul Watson and midfielder Matt Daniels will be released at the end of the season along with keeper Lewis Ward.

Colchester schoolboy Connor Wickham grabbed both goals as Town's under-18s beat Reading 2-1 at Playford Road.

Meanwhile, Town have been linked once again with Stockport keeper Owain Fan Williams, although the Welsh keeper is due to have an exploratory operation on a suspect shoulder.

Blues skipper Gareth McAuley is expected to keep his place at right back for Northern Ireland as they take on Slovenia tomorrow.

McAuley was part of Nigel Worthington's side that went top of Group Three, as main rivals Slovakia were playing a friendly in England, by beating Poland 3-2.

Blues boss Jim Magilton was working at the game as a pundit for the media and will be doing so again on Wednesday evening.

Velice Sumulikoski is looking for some game time with Macedonia against Holland, also on Wednesday, after being frozen out by Jim Magilton at Ipswich.

Alex Bruce - who fears he may have played his last game for the Blues after falling out of favour with boss Jim Magilton - was not part of the Republic of Ireland's 18 that drew 1-1 with Bulgaria in their World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria at Croke Park.

With a couple of Serie A clubs showing an interest in the defender, Bruce is hoping to be involved when Giovanni Trapattoni's side face Italy in Bari tomorrow.

Blues midfielder Owen Garvan won his ninth Under-21-cap and played a part in both goals as the Republic's under-21 side beat Spain 2-1 in Waterford on Friday.