Don: No Date

Don Hutchison says it would be foolish at this stage to give an estimate of when he will be back playing again.

Don, back in England a week after his cruciate operation in Canada, says:

"It was worth the journey; I'm sure there are good surgeons in England that would have done just as good a job but as far as experience goes, he was the most experienced guy so it was worth going along to see him.

"It's not bad, but a bit frustrating because it is the first time I have had a big injury; but we have got good physio staff and they are telling me it has gone well.

"It is just a case of trying to get the swelling down with a lot of ice and trying to keep fit in a reasonable way before I can start jogging in two months.

"I couldn't really put a date on a comeback, honestly I couldn't - it could take between seven and 10 months or it could be six or 11.

"It is one of those where everybody heals at a different speed and, though I'm hoping I will be back before Christmas, I can't say really when; I don't want to fail a six month target, but if I say 10 months and it's earlier I will have done well."

It is the start of a long road to recovery for Don, who will be seeing more of the medical room than he would care to in the coming months.

"It is not so much depressing because I have got good people around me," he says, "but it is just frustrating when you see the boys training every day because you take it for granted - so I'll be glad to be back.

"All you want to do is rest up and do nothing but if you want to be back quickly you want to keep your fitness levels up.

"I will probably be at Chadwell Heath more than anyone because I will be working right through the summer."

Don watched the first of what will be a lot of games involving West Ham but not him on Saturday, and says of the 5-3 defeat by Manchester United:

"I thought we played really well but being honest, watching the game from the stand, I thought Man U were just too good for us.

"They are reaching top form and people like Beckham and Scholes are coming into top form which is obviously good news for England."

Don's enforced and extended absence may yet help fellow midfielder Richard Garcia get more experience; both players like to get forward, and Don says:

"He is a good player, and on one I am looking at as well because he went through the same injury as I did; he was back in six months and said that he could have been back a bit quicker, but because of the way the season panned out he had the extra month to rest.

"It is nice to see him doing well and get the new contract as well; it is great for him and I wish him well."