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Uruguay striker Suarez has surgery on knee 3 weeks before World Cup, recovery expected

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MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay - Uruguay striker Luis Suarez had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Thursday but was expected to recover in time for the World Cup.

The mother of the 27-year-old Liverpool striker told The Associated Press that Suarez had successful surgery to repair cartilage damage.

"The surgery is over and thank God everything went well. What Luis had wasn't as serious as we thought," Suarez's mother, Sandra Diaz, told the AP shortly after speaking to him on the phone.

"He's very well. He's going to play the World Cup," said Diaz, who was taking care of the striker's children while he was in hospital.

The Uruguayan Football Association released a statement later saying Suarez began feeling an uncomfortable pain in his left knee during his last English Premier League game and he felt sharp pain again when he was training with the national team on Wednesday. An exam confirmed the cartilage injury.

"This morning he underwent an arthroscopy to repair his meniscus. ... No other injuries were found in his knee," the association said. "His participation in the World Cup in Brazil is not ruled out."

Suarez was released from the Medica Uruguaya hospital in the afternoon, and was taken in an ambulance to his home on the outskirts of Montevideo.

He was in a wheelchair, but he walked the last few steps to his house leaning on the shoulders of two people, without putting pressure on his injured leg.

His wife, Sofia, asked a small group of reporters to stop taking photos inside their home. When they continued to snap shots, Suarez, who was known for his short temper, called out a TV station by name, saying they were being disrespectful. Earlier in the day, he seemed calm about his recovery and confident he would play in the World Cup.

"Take it easy, because I'm going to make it (to the cup) and will work very hard these days to be at 100 per cent, and help out my teammates," Suarez told El Pais newspaper.

According to Suarez's sister, the striker was expected to be out for 2-3 weeks. Uruguay plays its first match at the World Cup against Costa Rica in 23 days. The team face England five days later and Italy five days after that.

"The problem is that these days he won't be able to play, and will only be able to do physiotherapy," Giovanna Suarez said.

Suarez is expected to be Uruguay's main threat at the World Cup. He had his best season with Liverpool, scoring a league-leading 31 goals, and was voted the league player of the year.

He scored three goals at the 2010 World Cup, and four when Uruguay won the 2011 Copa America in Argentina. He was named player of the tournament.

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