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Owen Hargreaves 'closing in on return'

By Simon Austin

Owen Hargreaves
Hargreaves has endured a frustrating three years at Old Trafford

Owen Hargreaves has made an excellent recovery from a career-threatening knee injury and could soon be back, says the knee surgeon he has been working with.

Hargreaves has not started a Manchester United game since September 2008 and many feared his career could be over.

But the renowned Dr Richard Steadman told BBC Sport: "Things are looking good for Owen, it's all worked out.

"He's close to playing fitness, although it's obviously up to United to decide when he plays a match."

Steadman, who has previously worked with Ruud van Nistelrooy, Michael Owen and Alan Shearer, operated on Hargreaves in 2009.

The 29-year-old midfielder has since made several visits to Steadman's clinic in Vail, Colorado, as he continued his recovery from the surgery.

Steadman, who rarely gives interviews, explained: "The problem was with the tendon attached to the patella on each knee, which is difficult to resolve.

I always find the Premier League guys a pleasure to work with. They just never give up

Dr Richard Steadman

"After the surgery, the key was rest and working hard on recovery. Owen has spent a lot of time with us here in Colorado and he just has such a great work ethic.

"He's never given up and we never gave up on him. The recovery was arduous and took a long time.

"But Owen is a patient patient and his condition looks promising now. You can't rush this type of injury and have to be very patient.

"He was with us a few weeks ago and is doing really well though. He was sprinting, twisting and turning."

Hargreaves was named in United's 25-man Premier League squad, but left out of their Champions League squad.

Steadman paid tribute to the work his colleague Luke O'Brien has done with the midfielder.

"Luke has a lot of experience with Major League Soccer and understands footballers and the demands placed on them.

606: DEBATE

"It's been about building the area of the knee to deal with the intense demands that will be placed on it.

"Football is all about rapid start, stop and kick. And you can't overstep the bounds with the recovery. Owen still knows not to push too far.

"We used a machine that allows you to be weightless when you run. Then gradually you can build up the weight placed on the joint."

Steadman is widely regarded as the world's leading knee surgeon and has worked with a host of Premier League footballers.

He says he particularly enjoys working with them, mainly because of their work ethic.

"I work with a variety of sportsmen and women and must say I always find the Premier League guys a pleasure to work with. They just never give up," stated Steadman.

Hargreaves secured his move from Bayern Munich to Old Trafford in July 2007 for a fee of about £17m after signing a four-year contract.



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see also
Valencia could return in February
17 Sep 10 |  Man Utd
Hargreaves rocked by new injury
08 Jul 10 |  Man Utd
Hargreaves to play through pain
24 Mar 10 |  Man Utd
Hargreaves makes reserve comeback
18 Mar 10 |  Man Utd
Hargreaves 'fit for next season'
30 Jan 09 |  Man Utd
Hargreaves visits top US surgeon
07 Nov 08 |  Man Utd
Hargreaves completes Man Utd move
01 Jul 07 |  Man Utd


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