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VIDEO - This discovery could get Walcott to the World Cup

Could this discovery improve ACL injury recovery times?

Theo Walcott is the latest premier league star to be struck down with the dreaded ACL injury. This is devastating news for the young Arsenal and England player with the 2014 world cup fast approaching. Walcott has been ruled out for six months, which would mean he will miss this summer’s World Cup tournament in Brazil. However, things might be looking up for Theo, if two Belgian surgeons are to be believed.

Professor Johan Bellmans has offered Walcott a glimmer of hope, suggesting recovery periods are so long because some patients suffer further damage which medical professionals were previously unaware of. "When somebody tears his ACL then undergoes surgery we know 10%-20% of patients continue to have some form of instability," he told Sky News. "That is illogical because we have fixed what's broken so therefore we were convinced there had to be another structure which was also damaged but which remained unrepaired so far." What they have revealed is a previously undiscovered ligament in the knee that, although small, seems to have an important role in the joint’s stability. When a force is large enough to cause damage to the ACL, this ligament is also damaged which is why the stability of the knee remains compromised even after the ACL has been repaired. Dr Steven Claes added: "The human ACL is located deep in the centre of the knee but the ligament we have described is running at the lateral side of the knee. "What we've noticed in many ACL-injured subjects is that both ligaments seem to be disrupted and so you can expect if you only treat one of these injuries, some laxity, some instability, particularly rotational laxity will persist." Several other Premier League players are currently sidelined with the same injury - Walcott's Arsenal team-mate Abou Diaby, Villa's Jores Okore and Chelsea's Marco van Ginkel are all out until June. This new discovery may decrease recovery time and change the way we think of the ACL.