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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 January 2007, 10:07 GMT
Fulham expect quick Niemi return
Antti Niemi being stretchered off
Niemi was unable to break his fall with his arms
Fulham expect injured goalkeeper Antti Niemi to return to action in just a few weeks after confirming an MRI scan showed no spinal damage.

The Finn, 34, was injured during Monday's 0-0 draw with Watford, landing on his head after racing from his area to clear the ball.

"The club can officially confirm there's no spinal cord or spinal column damage," said a Fulham statement.

"The club is confident that he will be back in a matter of weeks."

The incident happened in the second half at Craven Cottage after he leapt to head a ball clear on the edge of the Fulham box, forcing play to be halted for seven minutes as Niemi was stretchered off.

I'm confident that I'll be back in a few weeks' time playing again

Antti Niemi
The Finland international was then taken to hospital and checked by doctors before being released on Tuesday.

"Following the awkward fall at Monday's game, Antti Niemi has completed an MRI scan," added the statement.

"The scan showed some irritation to the related soft tissues in his neck, but there is no significant ligamentous or muscle injury, which is very positive.

"As expected, at the moment he has some pain and a reduction in the range of movement in his neck, which will need to improve before he can train fully.

"Antti is very keen to get back as soon as possible, but every precaution is being taken by the medical team at this stage and he is currently resting."

Niemi was replaced by Jan Lastuvka, who was the only other keeper at the club at the time, but Tony Warner has returned from his loan at Leeds to cover injured keeper's absence.

606 DEBATE: Your reaction to this news

Warner is one of three stoppers out on loan, with Mark Crossley at Sheffield Wednesday and Ricardo Batista at Wycombe.

Niemi said: "Having seen the incident on television I can see it looked very bad, but fortunately it looked a lot worse than it was.

"However, I consider myself very lucky as the outcome could have been much worse. I would like to thank everybody that sent good wishes after the game and I'm confident that I'll be back in a few weeks' time playing again."

SEE ALSO
Fulham 0-0 Watford
01 Jan 07 |  Premiership


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