AZ Alkmaar forward Martijn Meerdink could be sidelined for up to nine months after tearing the cruciate ligament in his right knee in training with the Netherlands national side.
The 28-year-old forward, who was included in Marco van Basten's squad for the first time for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup qualifying games with Romania and Armenia, collided with Manchester United FC striker Ruud van Nistelrooij in training on Thursday.
Meerdink had to be helped from the pitch and subsequent examinations in hospital in Amsterdam revealed the tear. Dr. Cor van der Hart, who examined the unfortunate player, expects the recovery will take between seven and nine months for Meerdink, who scored against FC Shakhtar Donetsk to help Alkmaar reach the UEFA Cup quarter-finals.
"It is clearly a very sad event," said Van Basten. "Martijn did very well, he adjusted well in the group and trained very well. It's a shame, because we were really satisfied with him."
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