Mixed injury news for the Wellington Phoenix
Carlos Hernandez will be back in action for the Phoenix earlier than anticipated.
The Costa Rican football international returned early from the Wellington team's successful two-game road trip when an X-ray showed a fracture in his left wrist after a fall in the 1-0 win over the Melbourne Heart. He was told to expect five to six weeks on the sideline.
However, a CT scan in Wellington showed it to be an old injury, perhaps up to five years old, and that an operation would not be necessary at this stage.
Coach Ernie Merrick said he was delighted to hear that Hernandez would be available for selection against the Central Coast Mariners on January 12, especially after the exciting 3-1 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers that kept the Phoenix in touch for a playoff place.
"The CT scan is more accurate than the X-ray he had in Sydney and it is really good news," Merrick said.
"The surgeon has told us that it is an old injury and that the wrist is stable.
"Carlos will need to wear a soft brace to support his wrist during games, but that isn't a problem."
Hernandez said he could not wait to get back to training.
"I was very happy when they told me I could carry on playing," he said.
"While everyone at the club has been positive throughout, there is a lot more confidence after three wins, and with two home games to come, I wanted to be a part of it."
The news keeps his World Cup hopes alive.
An extended spell on the sideline would have put his chances of playing in this year's finals in Brazil in jeopardy.
It was not such good news for fullback Louis Fenton, who requires surgery for his shoulder injury and will miss for the rest of the season.
Fenton first dislocated his right shoulder during a pre-season game against New Zealand A in Rotorua and missed the start of the season.
He fell heavily on it during the 3-1 win over the Wanderers on New Year's Day and it popped out again.
"Louis requires surgery and will see the surgeon early next week," Merrick said.
"His shoulder is too unstable to continue playing, so we will get the operation done as soon as possible."
Fenton said the news was the hardest thing he had had to take.
"People keep telling me that it is part of football, but it isn't a part I wanted to experience," he said.
"After the injury in Rotorua, I worked hard and did all the right things, so this was hard to take.
"I just thought I was getting the hang of playing right back and Ernie had shown a lot of faith in me.
"The good part is I still have another year on my contract and will be making sure I do everything right to be back next season."