Vol. 5 Num 923 Sun. December 31, 2006  

Barclays English Premier League
Terry making good progress

Chelsea and England captain John Terry went jogging Friday at his club's training ground, just a day after surgery on a back injury, the English Premier League champions announced.

Terry, 26, has not featured in the second-placed London club's last three Premiership matches, in which they have conceded six goals and fallen four points behind leaders Manchester United.

On Thursday he had an operation in France to remove what Chelsea said was a "sequestrated lumbar intervertebral disc".

Chelsea club doctor Bryan English, who accompanied Terry to France, said: "The instructions from the surgeon were to run the day after surgery. That is great for us and great for John.

"We are not going to do anything with John that is going to cause him problems. I am not in the game of pushing him out there because it is for the benefit of Chelsea -- but I also don't want to hold him back unnecessarily."

It has been suggested that Terry could be back within weeks, not months, but whether he will be fit to lead England in their first match of 2007, against Spain at Old Trafford on February 7, remains uncertain.

English added: "I won't say exactly how long he is going to take to recover.

"But when I hear so-called experts say that he is going to have a six-week recovery, when people comment when they don't know his pathology, what he has had done or who he has been working with I have a bit of a problem with that.

"With this particular diagnosis, there is a way of removing the prolapsed disc which involves not cutting through any contractile structure -- no muscle, no ligaments -- just the disc that is causing the problem.

"It is removing it via an endoscope with an optic camera to see exactly what you are doing. It is a difficult procedure, and I am sure troublesome in the wrong hands.

"It took a few days to find out the best person to do it, because we are not going to send someone like John Terry to anybody other than who we think is the best and most experienced person in the world.

"All arrows pointed to Dr Jean Destandau, a neurosurgeon in France, to do it. If there had been someone along those lines with that level of experience doing that technique in the UK, I am sure we would have used them."