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Duff admits big risk over injury

By Mark Bradley
CHELSEA winger Damien Duff admits he took a "big risk" with his fitness in ignoring specialist advice telling him to have an operation on his shoulder injury.

Duff, who dislocated his shoulder against Fulham on December 20, returned to action in Chelsea's midweek FA Cup third-round replay against Watford as a substitute.

The Republic of Ireland international is now hoping that his injury problems are behind him as he approaches Sunday's Barclaycard Premiership game against Birmingham.

But while he has been taking part in judo sessions to strengthen his shoulder, the club's record £17million signing acknowledges he did take a gamble.

Duff revealed: "When I first went to the specialist he wanted me to have an operation.

"But that would have put me out of action for three months, and I didn't want to do it because I would have been missing too much football.

"So I took a big risk by not getting it done. But I've been working hard with (fitness coach) Roberto Sassi, and it's good to be back," he said.

"I felt a bit nervous before I went on against Watford after being out for three or four weeks but it went well and it was good to get that under my belt.

"My shoulder is still weak, but I've been doing some judo to practice my rolls and falling on it.

"I've been trying everything really. I'm going to see another specialist now and I've been keeping on top of things," he added.

Claudio Ranieri is relieved to have Duff fit again, referring to his "devastating" ability to take on opponents.

Chelsea have certainly missed Duff's attacking penetration, the Irishman even managed to set up Eidur Gudjohnsen for his side's fourth goal on Wednesday night in his short spell on the pitch.

He told Chelsea TV: "I was desperate to score or get an assist against Watford, so I was running about like a loon. But to be fair, Eidur still had an awful amount of work to do!"

Meanwhile, Juan Sebastian Veron is to fly home to Argentina to see a surgeon in a bid to sort out his long-running back injury.

Chelsea are hoping the consultation will resolve the problem which has restricted Veron to just 11 appearances since his £15million transfer from Manchester United in August.

Although interim chief executive Paul Smith told the club's website that Veron is going home for surgery, manager Claudio Ranieri is refusing to contemplate that scenario yet.

"I'm not a doctor. Veron is going to Argentina to see a specialist who knows him from before and then we will know something more," said the Chelsea chief.

"When he came back from Argentina last time he had a back injury and has tried to do everything without having an operation. Now he wants to go back to Argentina to see his own doctor," said Ranieri.

Veron and Chelsea's other long-term casualties, Hernan Crespo and Emmanuel Petit, will miss Sunday's home match but Ranieri revealed that there will be a recall for England left-back Wayne Bridge.

Celestine Babayaro, who is due to fly out to join the Nigerian squad at the African Nations Cup after this weekend, has been selected ahead of Bridge in the starting line-up recently but the Chelsea boss said: "We will start with Wayne Bridge".

 

Duff admits big risk over injury

By Mark Bradley
CHELSEA winger Damien Duff admits he took a "big risk" with his fitness in ignoring specialist advice telling him to have an operation on his shoulder injury.

Duff, who dislocated his shoulder against Fulham on December 20, returned to action in Chelsea's midweek FA Cup third-round replay against Watford as a substitute.

The Republic of Ireland international is now hoping that his injury problems are behind him as he approaches Sunday's Barclaycard Premiership game against Birmingham.

But while he has been taking part in judo sessions to strengthen his shoulder, the club's record £17million signing acknowledges he did take a gamble.

Duff revealed: "When I first went to the specialist he wanted me to have an operation.

"But that would have put me out of action for three months, and I didn't want to do it because I would have been missing too much football.

"So I took a big risk by not getting it done. But I've been working hard with (fitness coach) Roberto Sassi, and it's good to be back," he said.

"I felt a bit nervous before I went on against Watford after being out for three or four weeks but it went well and it was good to get that under my belt.

"My shoulder is still weak, but I've been doing some judo to practice my rolls and falling on it.

"I've been trying everything really. I'm going to see another specialist now and I've been keeping on top of things," he added.

Claudio Ranieri is relieved to have Duff fit again, referring to his "devastating" ability to take on opponents.

Chelsea have certainly missed Duff's attacking penetration, the Irishman even managed to set up Eidur Gudjohnsen for his side's fourth goal on Wednesday night in his short spell on the pitch.

He told Chelsea TV: "I was desperate to score or get an assist against Watford, so I was running about like a loon. But to be fair, Eidur still had an awful amount of work to do!"

Meanwhile, Juan Sebastian Veron is to fly home to Argentina to see a surgeon in a bid to sort out his long-running back injury.

Chelsea are hoping the consultation will resolve the problem which has restricted Veron to just 11 appearances since his £15million transfer from Manchester United in August.

Although interim chief executive Paul Smith told the club's website that Veron is going home for surgery, manager Claudio Ranieri is refusing to contemplate that scenario yet.

"I'm not a doctor. Veron is going to Argentina to see a specialist who knows him from before and then we will know something more," said the Chelsea chief.

"When he came back from Argentina last time he had a back injury and has tried to do everything without having an operation. Now he wants to go back to Argentina to see his own doctor," said Ranieri.

Veron and Chelsea's other long-term casualties, Hernan Crespo and Emmanuel Petit, will miss Sunday's home match but Ranieri revealed that there will be a recall for England left-back Wayne Bridge.

Celestine Babayaro, who is due to fly out to join the Nigerian squad at the African Nations Cup after this weekend, has been selected ahead of Bridge in the starting line-up recently but the Chelsea boss said: "We will start with Wayne Bridge".