English footballer and Newcastle United striker Michael Owen might be able to resume playing in a fortnight after his hernia surgery.
That is the view of Dudley Rogg, clinic director of the British Hernia Centre, as the debate over the player's fitness rumbles on.
Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce insists Owen, who was sent for a scan Tuesday after limping off at Derby the previous evening, does not have a problem.
However, that has not stopped mounting speculation that he will require an operation sooner rather than later, and with both the club and national team in desperate need of his services, that would come as a blow.
But Rogg, speaking to US-based football website Soccernet, is confident that if Owen did undergo surgery now, he would be back in business in plenty of time to figure in his country's vital Euro 2008 qualifier against Estonia Oct 13 and the potentially crucial trip to Russia four days later.
He said: "With the modern treatment now available, we have footballers back on the pitch within 14 days experiencing no further problems.
"Unless Allardyce delays the surgery - which will not only put Owen at serious risk of making his hernia worse, but experiencing recurring problems - our experience suggests he should easily be fighting fit for England's next European qualifier against Estonia."
Allardyce has vociferously denied suggestions that Owen needs the operation and is hopeful he can line up against West Ham United at St James' Park Sunday.
The manager said: "We sent him for a scan as a precaution. But the result is he's absolutely fine and will be fit to play Sunday."
Newcastle could do without their 17 million-pound man disappearing back into the treatment room - he has already undergone four operations in his two years at the club, two on his fractured metatarsal and two on the knee he damaged during the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals.
Five goals in four games for club and country since his return to action from a minor thigh strain have illustrated his continuing potency, and helped to rekindle dreams of tangible success at St. James' Park.