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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 July, 2004, 13:45 GMT 14:45 UK
England medics stand firm
Andrew Flintoff
Dr Peter Gregory (R) in discussion with physio Kirk Russell
England's medics have responded to what they call "misguided and unjustified criticism" over their handling of Andrew Flintoff's ankle injury.

Pundits have questioned if the all-rounder should be playing for England, and bowling with cortisone injections, while suffering from a bone spur.

But the England and Wales Cricket Board's chief medical officer, Dr Peter Gregory, defended his position.

He said: "Andrew's ankle has responded well to treatment thus far."

Dr Gregory said there was a basic three-step procedure for dealing with the effects of an ankle bone spur, technically called a "posterior impingement".

It involves:

  • 1. Rest from bowling for a period of time
  • 2. Cortisone injection
  • 3. Surgery
Dr Gregory said: "If the first two stages of this process are not successful, then an operation may be required as a last resort.

"But we would not want Andrew to undergo surgery unless this was absolutely necessary and it would be irresponsible to carry out this procedure until we have exhausted all available other options.

"The risks associated with injection for this condition are far less than for undergoing surgery that would keep him out for a significant period of time."

He added: "Elective surgery is not being considered as the cortisone injection has been effective at present and Andrew continues to bowl pain-free."

Australia's Glenn McGrath suffered a similar injury 18 months ago.

He kept bowling in the belief he could contain the problem but was eventually forced onto the sidelines - and has only recently made his comeback after a year out.




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