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Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Thursday, 31 December 2009

Fulham's John Pantsil awaits decision on knee surgery

John Pantsil
Pantsil had an impressive game before he had to be substituted

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson remains worried that Ghana international John Pantsil may miss the rest of the season with a posterior cruciate ligament injury.

The defender has already been ruled out of the Africa Cup of Nations and is facing a minimum lay-off of two months.

A specialist will determine this weekend whether the 28-year-old needs an operation that would end his season.

"We're talking about a period of rehabilitation of eight to 12 weeks, whatever happens," Hodgson said.

"It could be that if the damage is sufficiently bad that he might require an operation. If that's the case he'll be out for another four to six weeks.

"It's really bad news for us and for John as well because he was voted Ghana player of the year and has been playing very well. Now he's looking ahead to a long period of rehabilitation."

Should he undergo surgery Pantsil could also face a battle to return to full fitness in time for the 2010 World Cup.


The right-back's absence adds to a lengthy list of Ghanaian stars who will miss the Africa Cup of Nations beginning in Angola on 10 January.

Captain Stephen Appiah has already conceded defeat in his race to be fit, whilst vice-captain John Mensah missed his club side Sunderland's 2-2 draw with Blackburn with a hamstring strain.

Michael Essien has been out of action for the last few weeks and Laryea Kingston is also set to miss the competition.

Ghana face Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Togo in Group B in Angola.

Before Pantsil was substituted he was involved in a ferocious battle at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea's Ivorian Didier Drogba.

But now Panstil, his coach Milovan Rajevac and Ghana's fans face an anxious wait for the result of the scan.

Fulham, meanwhile, are considering the possibility of signing 20-year-old striker Stefano Okaka from Italian club Roma for the rest of the season.

Okaka played in both Europa League games between the sides and last month scored the winner when Fulhanm went down 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico.

"We're looking into it and have shown an interest. How far we go down that road will depend on other things like whether he wants to come on loan to England. The finances of the situation will also be important," said Hodgson.

"We're happy with our striking options but we would like to have some cover and someone who can put pressure on the guys we have.

"Okaka seems to be that type of player but a lot of water must pass under the bridge before he pulls on a Fulham shirt," he added.

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see also
Chelsea 2-1 Fulham
28 Dec 09 |  Premier League
Monday's Premier League photos
28 Dec 09 |  Football
Monday football as it happened
28 Dec 09 |  Football
Ghana omit Muntari for Angola
18 Dec 09 |  African
Essien out for up to four weeks
09 Dec 09 |  Chelsea
Appiah out for three weeks
05 Dec 09 |  African
Africa Cup of Nations
10 Apr 10 |  African
What is a cruciate ligament?
28 Sep 05 |  Sport Homepage

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