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The first picture of the Arsenal striker since his horrific injury shows him in plaster but he still has the risk of infection which could wreck his nine-month rehabilitation.
Eduardo suffered an open fracture and dislocated ankle from Birmingham defender Martin Taylor’s red-card lunge in last Saturday’s 2-2 draw at St Andrew’s. And Gunners physio Gary Lewin warned: “The only cause for concern is if he gets any infection because it’s an open fracture.
“The crucial part is the next two weeks.
“If we can get through that without infection, and all the signs are very good, then we can start the rehab and the long road to recovery.”
The Croatian forward thanks Lewin for saving his left foot.
“The injury was so grave I could have lost my foot,” he confessed.
“So I will always be grateful to Gary for what he did in lowering the risk to my leg. That was decisive. I do not remember too much about the blow.
“I remember the pain, seeing that my foot had rotated, but I only recaptured my senses in hospital.
“I had to spend my 25th birthday in there on Monday and it was a very sad day.”
IT was the question which had haunted Eduardo for 24 horrific and pain-filled hours.
So when the Arsenal striker saw Martin Taylor standing at the foot of his hospital bed, all he could do was fix the Birmingham defender with a rigid stare.
And until he looked into the eyes of the man who had maimed him, he knew there could be no answer.
He had to know — there and then — if the hideous lunge which broke his leg, smashed his ankle and threatened the Croatian’s career was meant to hurt him.
“All I could do was look at his face — I was totally pre-occupied,” admitted Eduardo.
“I wanted to believe what Taylor said and to think that what happened was an unfortunate accident.
“I had to look at him. I could not understand how anyone could make a tackle like that in only the third minute of a game.
“But in the end I believed that Taylor was sincere and I accepted his excuses.
“Even though he had destroyed my season it would be incredible to think that what he did was pre-meditated.”
Eduardo, a man of faith, has yet to view footage of the incident that shocked the world — and insists he never will.
He may have accepted Taylor’s apology but he cannot bring himself to watch a replay of the tackle that caused an open fracture of his fibula, dislocated the ankle and saw the bones pierce his skin.
“I have still not have seen images or any photos and I’m not interested,” he explained. “I’ve made this decision along with my wife.
“I want to try and forget what happened. The injury was so grave that I could have lost my foot.
“So I will always be grateful to physio Gary Lewin for what he did in lowering the risk to my leg. That was decisive.
“I do not remember too much about the blow.
“I remember the pain, seeing that my foot had rotated.
“But after that I do not recall much of being on the stretcher, in the dressing room or the ambulance.
“I only recaptured my senses in the hospital at Birmingham.
“I spent my 25th birthday there on Monday. It was a sad day.
“I am very religious and it is clear that now I need so much help to overcome this situation.
“My family and the club will be decisive in my recuperation.
“I have received so many phone calls and letters of encouragement. And not only from England and Croatia.
“I was the main story in my native Brazil, too.
“I will respond to all these people. That is the positive side of all this, the people are with me.”
Eduardo, later transferred to a London hospital, is now back at home and expects to be on crutches for the next six to eight weeks.
Then will come months of mind-numbing rehab work in the gym, reflecting on the sheer physicality of the Premier League.
He added: “Every match you play is dangerous because football is a contact sport.
“But in England forwards receive excessive kicks from defenders.
“I will miss Arsenal’s race for the title and the Champions League campaign but, most of all, my first European Championship with Croatia. That is the worst blow.
“Euro 2008 was a big dream. To qualify was one of the best moments in my life but I am only 25 and I can play in other Euros. That’s what is in my head.
“Croatia national coach Slaven Bilic and my international team-mates have called and their support is enormous. I am happy about that.
“And my Arsenal team-mates have promised to win the league title for me. That, too, is very emotive.
“At Arsenal we have the team to be champions. All season we have suffered injuries but are still at the top.
“So I hope that my absence will not affect the team.
“We have a sensational attack and now Robin van Persie is returning soon.
“The rehab will be difficult but, as each day goes by, I am closer to playing for Arsenal again.
“I need to be in plaster for nearly eight weeks and for six months it will only be possible to exercise with little movement.
“I have suffered. But a week ago I looked at the future with fear.
“Already the situation is better.”
As Eduardo had suffered an open dislocation of his left ankle there were fears of infection.
But Arsenal physio Lewin’s quick actions helped stabilise the injury.
Eduardo underwent surgery in Birmingham’s Selly Oak Hospital last Saturday night.
And now Arsenal believe the player could make a full recovery within nine months
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