Michael Owen may yet be able to play for England in their forthcoming European Championship qualifiers despite the growing belief on Tyneside that Owen requires a double hernia operation, reports The Independent
A complication is that Owen's and Newcastle United's preferred surgeon, the Munich-based Ulrike Muschaweck, is believed to be unavailable this week.
That means that Owen would not see Dr Muschaweck until the weekend at the earliest, leaving the England centre-forward just a fortnight to recover before England host Estonia at Wembley.
England's more difficult qualifier against Russia in Moscow comes four days later so Owen has more chance of being ready for that game. That is still a short time to undergo an operation and then recover to something resembling match fitness. But, medically, the recovery time for a double hernia is usually the same as for a single correction and Owen and Newcastle have the example of their previous England centre-forward, Alan Shearer, to give them hope.
Shearer, at that time, needed a hernia operation and startled himself and the club by returning to action in 10 days. That is a scenario that has obvious appeal to Owen, Newcastle and England.
Owen apparently wanted to play on as long as possible before surgery but is now thought to be increasingly realistic about the need for an operation.