Jimmy Bullard will fly to the United States on Monday to see the leading knee specialist, Richard Steadman.
Bullard suffered serious ligament damage following a challenge from Scott Parker in Fulham’s 2-1 victory over Newcastle last Saturday and is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines. It was a cruel blow for the 27-year-old summer signing from Wigan, whose energy and commitment had made him a supporters’ favourite after only three games at Craven Cottage.
Steadman, who is based in Colorado, has treated Alan Shearer and Michael Owen in the past – among many others – and Bullard has been reassured he is in the best possible hands.
“Jimmy is flying out to America where he will see the top guy in his field,” the Fulham manager Chris Coleman said. “We don’t know exactly for how long Jimmy will be out. Our doctor said after the Newcastle game that he didn’t think there would be any ligament damage.
“What happened is Bulley’s hamstring had seized up because his body was protecting the injury. We thought there was no ligament damage and that’s why he wouldn’t be out for that long. But we’ve since found there was sufficient ligament damage to require surgery.
“We won’t know exactly the extent of the damage until he sees this guy in the States. He’s flying out on Monday so hopefully we’ll have some news by the end of next week.
“We’ve sent Jimmy to Richard Steadman because he’s a very, very good player. He’s someone who will be a massive influence on this football club in the next three or four years. Jimmy has to see the best guy available. Any players who will be at this club for a long time will get the best treatment.”
Chris Coleman said: “The chairman is 100% on board making sure the players get the best treatment, no matter what it costs.”
Coleman revealed Bullard has been in good spirits since coming to terms with the injury but has warned him he faces some difficult times ahead.
“Jimmy lives, eats and breathes football. Everyone was disappointed for him,” Coleman said.
“The first 48 hours were a shock to the system but he’s been okay. He’s been having a laugh with the lads today and he needs to be involved.
“I told him the problem with long-term injures is not just when you are watching the lads on the pitch – the killer comes when you go home at night and you’re by yourself.
“They’re long nights and that’s what he’ll find out. He’s desperate to get back, it’s just a matter of when.”