Saturday February 4 2012
Cassano return 'June at the earliest'

Antonio Cassano “could return to the playing field in June,” says the Milan and Italy star’s neurosurgeon after an operation on a congenital heart defect.

The forward was taken ill on the flight back from Rome and rushed to hospital, where he was diagnosed with a mini-stroke. On November 4, he had surgery to correct the heart defect that had caused the stroke.

“He is progressing well and all according to plan,” neurosurgeon Nereo Bresolin told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Let’s say the first phase of his rehabilitation has been completed. The tests showed there is still a trace of the stroke, but that is bound to disappear over time.

“There is a schedule that needs to be followed and the lad is still on blood-thinners, so he can only have solo training sessions for the moment. He cannot risk bruising or trauma.

“His positive spirit was evident right from the first day he arrived in hospital. He’s in good humour and the psychological aspect is very important during the recovery process.”

There were hopes Cassano would be able to play before the end of the season, but that seems unlikely, which also damages his Euro 2012 target.

“I think it is possible for him to be playing in June, but not beforehand. I heard some talk about April as a comeback date, but that is too early.”