Maccarone blow for Boro

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MIDDLESBROUGH'S worst fears over Massimo Maccarone have been confirmed, as the Italian will not feature for Boro until November.

The bald-headed star went over on his ankle in Boro's pre-season victory at Hull City.

However, Boro have been waiting to learn the full extent of the damage and he has indeed damaged ligaments.

"It is difficult to say how long he will be sidelined for, but it could be between eight and ten weeks if everything goes well," said Boro physio Grant Downie. 

"Massimo is in Italy undertaking the early part of a rehabilitation programme. He will return in two weeks' time for a full assessment regarding the next stage of the management of his injury.

"At present, the rehab is about early active and passive movement of the ankle, reducing the swelling and doing some co-ordination work.

"Initially, it was suspected he might have fractured his ankle, but X-rays showed this wasn't the case. However, an MRI scan then revealed severe damage to the ankle's lateral complex and medial ligament too.

"We were unable to fully diagnose the ankle initially due to the amount of swelling. So the ankle was put in a cast for a week to allow it to settle.

"Further clinical tests and an MRI scan revealed the severe damage. He is now out of that cast and working on his rehabilitation back in Italy."

The news is a real blow to Boro and Maccarone - who finished as top-scorer at The Riverside Stadium last season.

Boro though do have substantial cover, with Malcolm Christie back to full fitness, Slovakian star Szilard Nemeth and Joseph Job.

Michael Ricketts should also be available within a few weeks, as he continues to recover from an Achilles injury.

Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren is now without Maccarone and England star Ugo Ehiogu for the first few months of the season.

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