Theo Walcott has been offered a glimmer of hope by Professor Gordon Mackay, a Scottish surgeon, who believes he can get the Arsenal forward playing again within the next four months.
As reported by Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail, former Rangers employee Mackay believes an "internal brace" can help the Englishman recover from his anterior cruciate ligament injury in time for the World Cup:
The procedure would involve a device being inserted into Walcott’s knee, which Mackay says would instantly stabilise the joint and allow the forward to begin his rehabilitation sooner. This would allow the ruptured ligament to re-attach itself naturally to the bone and Walcott could progressively increase his workload.
Walcott is due to have surgery in the next two weeks to repair the damage.
Mackay is expected to contact Arsenal on Jan. 8, and suggest his method could offer a viable alternative to plans the Gunners will have already initiated:
"Arsenal will have their plans in place for Theo Walcott’s recovery and these are always sensitive issues," said Mackay. "But we would like to inform the club of this different approach."
Mackay is the second surgeon to suggest he can aid Walcott's recovery since the pacey player suffered his injury during the 2-0 FA Cup win over Tottenham on Jan. 4.
As noted by Sky Sports, Belgian duo Professor Johan Bellmans and Dr Steven Claes believe they can speed up the 24-year-old's recovery by focusing treatment on his entire left knee and not just the obviously damaged area.
Bellmans claims "10%-20% of patients continue to have some form of instability" after recovering, something that can be eradicated by aiding the ACL in the centre of the knee and ligament on the "lateral side."
Walcott's unfortunate injury is a massive blow for both Arsenal and England. At club level, the former Southampton speedster has contributed extensively across the last year, as tweeted by OptaJoe:
33 - Since the start of 12/13, Theo Walcott scored or assisted 33 PL goals (19 goals, 14 assists) more than any other Arsenal player. Prime.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 6, 2014
A string of fitness problems have seen Walcott only manage 10 starts and five substitute appearances across the Premier League and Champions League this season, but he has still contributed six goals and four assists, per WhoScored.com.
While Arsenal's run to the English summit was largely accumulated with Walcott on the recovery table, his recent braces against Manchester City and West Ham, as well as an important goal against Cardiff, suggest he was hitting a run of fine form at the start of 2014.
Will Theo Walcott make it to the 2014 World Cup?
Roy Hodgson—who says Walcott's injury is a "blow" for the player, Arsenal and England, per BBC Sport—will hope to have the Gunners star back before his Three Lions squad travel to Brazil in the summer.
Arsene Wenger now has the opportunity to sign a replacement during the January transfer window, but the French boss will be disappointed to see a key player miss the remainder of the season, especially as the North London club look to be competing for their first silverware since 2005.