TOWN captain Jon Worthington is hoping his meeting with one of the world’s leading hernia specialists will have him back in action by early next month.
The 24-year-old midfielder flies out to Munich on Sunday and will have his first consultation with Dr Ulrike Muschaweck on Monday morning.
Should the woman who recently worked wonders with Michael Owen and Craig Bellamy decide surgery is needed, it would probably take place a week today.
And all being well, Worthington, out of first-team action since August, would be back in Britain the following day.
An operation would be the fifth the player has had on his problematic groin and stomach area, but only the second on the left side, where he previously had surgery in 2003.
And the player who has made 192 appearances for Town is taking inspiration from the success Dr Muschaweck had with Owen’s fellow England striker Alan Shearer.
“He had far more operations on his groins than I have and look at the career he had,” said Worthington.
“The injury has been very frustrating, but it hasn’t really worried me. I know I’ll get there in the end, and I couldn’t be in better hands.
“If I do the right thing by my body now, I can go on to make another 200 appearances.”
While Owen was famously back in a Newcastle shirt just 10 days after going under Dr Muschaweck’s knife, Town physio Lee Martin explained the speed of recovery depends on the nature of the problem.
“The recovery time is usually quicker because her surgery is less invasive than the more traditional approach,” he explained.
“But if she discovers there is some old mesh in there which needed to be removed, it would take longer because she wouldn’t be able to operate microscopically.
“It all depends on what she discovers, but one thing’s for sure – there aren’t many people around who have more experience or a better success rate at treating hernias.”
Worthington’s teammate Aaron Hardy has been unable to shake off his own groin injury, ruling him out of tonight’s home Reserve clash with Walsall (7.00).