Boro quiet on Downing fears
Middlesbrough insist they are yet to find out how long Stewart Downing will be sidelined, amid reports he could face up to six months out. The England winger was injured at the weekend when Aston Villa midfielder Stiliyan Petrov stood on his ankle. Downing was stretchered off and the immediate concerns were about this weekend's final game of the season against West Ham. But now Downing's worries are more serious with a report in the North East stating that he had indeed fractured his foot and would undergo surgery this week. It is also claimed that specialists have told the Boro star that the worst-case scenario is six months on the sidelines - which would rule out any prospect of a summer move for Downing, which had looked inevitable whether the club stayed up or not. Boro have refused to confirm or deny reports of the break, but confirmed he had already been to see a leading specialist in London. "We will not be able to assess the full extent of Stewart's injury until his bruising and swelling go down," said the club's head of medical Grant Downie. "We are still waiting for further tests and investigations to find out the best way to manage the problem. "Stewart has already seen a leading orthopaedic expert in London and is in the best possible hands." Petrov - who caused the injury with his challenge - was quick to apologise to Downing and Boro. "It was an accident and no-one likes to see players carried off, especially a young talent fighting to help Middlesbrough stay up and I hope it's not too serious," he said. "It would be a big loss for Middlesbrough if he wasn't fit for their last game so I wish him all the best and hope he can play next week. "My boot landed flush on top of his foot, I caught him in full stride but it was accidental." Villa are now playing Newcastle in the final game of the season and Petrov insisted he would be doing his all to make sure they would win - which could do Boro a big favour. "We want to finish fifth so we can say we have improved on last season's sixth-placed finish," he said.
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