Di Canio despair for West Ham

West Ham United FC will be without key striker Paolo Di Canio until February.

Operation carried out
The Italian had an operation on his knee last night after twisting his left leg in a league match on Monday night, which West Ham lost 1-0 against Southampton FC to remain rooted to the bottom of the table. Club doctor Ges Steinbergs said the player was in a positive mood despite the injury.

Recovering from surgery
"He has just undergone an operation to repair the cartilage with an arthroscopy, and now he is recovering from that," Steinbergs told the club's official website. "It follows the injury on Monday night when he twisted his knee quite early on - that resulted in damage to his lateral cartilage, which is the more difficult one, more so than a medial cartilage."

Eight week lay-off
The doctor added that Di Canio had already begun to think about his recovery programme in a bid to return to action as soon as possible. "I have had a long chat with him and his spirits are up. No one likes to be injured, least of all Paolo, and thankfully in all his career he has not had that many injuries." He said the expected lay-off time would be around eight weeks.

Top scorer
Di Canio is West Ham's top scorer with six goals from 12 appearances and is one of the team's most influential players. The 34-year-old has been the subject of much speculation over his future as his contract is due to expire at the end of the 2002/03 season.