Aleksander Knavs could miss Slovenia's next three UEFA EURO 2004™ qualifying games after his club, 1. FC Kaiserslautern, confirmed that the defender would miss the rest of the season.
The 27-year-old damaged his shoulder in Saturday's 1-0 victory against Bayer 04 Leverkusen, which moved Kaiserslautern up to eleventh place in the 1. Bundesliga. Knavs tried to play on in the second half but the pain was such that the captain was unable to continue and had to be replaced by Harry Koch in the 47th minute. He was taken to hospital and underwent surgery immediately.
Knavs will sit out the home match against Cyprus on 2 April, and is extremely doubtful for the trip to Malta on 30 April. One of Slovenia's most experienced and reliable defenders, he will retain hope of featuring against Israel on 7 June. The Slovenians are fourth in Group 1 with three points. They opened their campaign with a 3-0 victory against Malta before being thrashed 5-0 at the Stade de France by the defending champions.
Knavs began his career with NK Olimpija Ljubljana before moving to FC Tirol Innsbruck in 1997. After helping Tirol to successive Austrian championships in 1999/00 and 2000/01, he joined Kaiserslautern where he has been similarly influential. A regular for Slovenia, Knavs made two appearances at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and has subsequently taken his tally of international caps to 42.
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