FK Partizan defender Taribo West's season has ended early so he can recover from a knee operation in time for the club's UEFA Champions League qualifying bid in August.
West, 29, will miss the last three rounds of Partizan's season to have surgery on his right knee in the United States. The club have already clinched the Prva savezna liga title and will enter the 2003/04 Champions League in the second qualifying round. The Nigerian joined Partizan in the winter break and has played 12 matches, scoring one goal.
Partizan coach Lothar Matthäus is hoping West will be fit to return on 20 June, when the club begin their pre-season training. Partizan doctor Zoran Jovanovic said: "He has felt pain in his knee for a long time now and he cannot continue like that any more. We proposed an operation here in Belgrade, but he has chosen to go to the USA. We have approved. The location is not important, he needs to go under the knife."
One piece of positive news for Partizan is the return of Serbia and Montenegro midfield player Vladimir Ivic, who has missed the second half of the season with a knee injury. Ivic, who will be in the starting eleven against FK Obilic on Saturday, said: "I am physically ready, I just need to overcome the psychological barrier of an injury and come back in style."
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