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Le Saux video nasty helps Shearer save his career!; England physio's boost as Alan aims for France.

England physio Alan Smith has sent a special medical package to Newcastle United to help save Alan Shearer's World Cup dream.

Smith has wrapped up a video chronicling the rehabilitation of Graeme Le Saux, who suffered virtually the same horrific ankle and leg damage as Shearer two years ago.

Smith hopes Shearer and Newcastle physio Derek Wright can benefit from Le Saux's experience.

But the frightening statistic is that Le Saux's injury kept him out of England action for more than a year...a repeat of that with Shearer would wreck his dream of returning in time for France '98.

Shearer is fighting his way back from that career-threatening ankle rupture that has robbed him of all this season's Premiership action.

He has been out since July, when his right foot got caught during a Goodison friendly, and his comeback is not expected until well into the New Year - despite the optimistic noises being made at Newcastle last week.

Shearer's old Blackburn team-mate Le Saux suffered his injury in November 1995, which ruled him out of Euro 96 the following summer.

It took wing back Le Saux TEN months to win back his first-team place at Blackburn and an extra three months before his England call-up.

But Blackburn physio Smith, who masterminded Le Saux's `remarkable recovery', wants to assist Shearer in every way he can.

Said Smith last night: "A lot of things can go right, but a lot of things can go wrong.

"Alan has an ankle fracture and dislocation. It is a similar category to Graeme's, I have to say.

"I was talking to Derek Wright about Alan this week and I've sent a video of Graeme's rehabilitation to him.

"It is going to help other players and physios in the future - that is my way of thinking. We all need to help each other out."

Le Saux had a metal plate and six screws inserted in his ankle after being tackled by Middlesbrough's Brazilian ace Juninho.

Le Saux, now recovering from a broken elbow at Chelsea, made such a good recovery that he won back his England place and starred in the battling goalless draw against Italy in Rome.

Smith, in charge of England's physio team, observed: "It was an extremely serious ankle injury, probably the worst I have ever treated.

"I dealt with Graeme from start to finish - it is important to tailor the rehabilitation to the individual's situation and fitness requirements.

"He came back as strong as every - it was a remarkable recovery."

Le Saux himself reckons Shearer will need plenty of inner strength and patience.

"I sympathise with him and all players who have long-term injuries, but clubs are now much better prepared to cope with them.

"Alan has had injuries before and again it will be down to the strength of his character.

"We all know that Alan is a very strong character - you can tell that out there on the pitch. He has recovered from his other injuries and will recover from this one as well."

A top Tyneside sports injury specialist says Shearer WILL lead England out at next summer's World Cup finals.

Morna Laing believes Shearer is on course to make a return early in '98 - but she warns that the severity of his injury could mean his right leg is never as good again.

"Alan Shearer suffered an extremely serious injury," said Laing. "On a scale of severity of one to 10, I'd rate it an eight.

"But a lot of sportsmen have come back from this type of injury. The fact that he has full mobility means his prospects of playing in the World Cup must be extremely good."

But Shearer's injury could leave him with a permanent stretching of the ankle ligaments, which may make him vulnerable to further ankle problems later in his career.

Laing added: "I'd be more concerned long term with his groin injury problems. The surgeons have visited that injury three times and that is probably more worrying than his present problems."

Shearer, his plaster now removed, has now stepped up his rehabilitation routine to include gentle jogging as well as work with weights and exercise bikes. His specialist is delighted with his progress.

"I'll be back when I'm ready," insists a cautious Shearer. "I've had long-term injuries before and long ago learned not to make statements about when I might be playing again.

"Let's just say I'm pleased, and the medical people are pleased with how things are going."

Concern about Shearer's groin injury was mirrored by ex-boss Kevin Keegan, who once put Shearer in the hands of a faith-healer.

England's most expensive footballer was sent to Betty Shine - a celebrity psychic healer and author - as he struggled to overcome groin trouble.

"Kevin Keegan sent both Alan Shearer and Steve Howey to see Betty Shine," said a Newcastle insider. "She has a big reputation in the showbiz world as a faith-healer.

"But I think both Shearer and Howey were a bit sceptical.

"Somehow I don't think it will happen under Kenny Dalglish. He is a lot more conventional than Keegan."
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Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Nickless, Graham; McNALLY, BRIAN
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 23, 1997
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