Gaitan expecting to miss World Cup
August 21, 2007
Argentina centre Martin Gaitan is resigned to missing the World Cup following the heart problems he suffered in Cardiff on Saturday.
The Biarritz player fainted in the dressing room after the 27-20 loss to Wales at Millennium Stadium, and was rushed to hospital where he underwent surgery to repair a partial tear in the coronary artery.
The 29-year-old insists he is recovering well and is expected to be discharged on Wednesday, but Pumas team doctor Mario Larrain believes it is too early to tell whether he will be able to resume his rugby career.
Gaitan told La Nacion newspaper: ``I'm very fine and much calmer now. People here treated me very well.
``When the guys (his team-mates) visited me, they were shocked, but I feel fine. I am very close to being discharged.''
Pumas coach Marcelo Loffreda has not named a replacement for Gaitan as the centre is still officially in the World Cup squad, but the player himself seems resigned to being a spectator in France.
He told Radio Mitre: ``I will stay in Wales until being discharged, then I will go to Biarritz by train to meet my family. If I can, I will go to watch the Pumas in the World Cup.
``After the Wales match I was with some pain, so I told that to the doctor, the ambulance came and the rest is a well-known story.''
Larrain was not willing to speculate on the extent of Gaitan's condition, preferring to be cautious with the player's career at stake.
``It would be terrible for him,'' said Larrain. ``We should not say anything about that because we cannot confirm anything yet.
``He knows he was in a very complicated situation, but he is willing to get over soon.
``It was a very strange problem: statistics say it's one case in one million people.
``We are as surprised as everybody, as medical tests during the training camp in Pensacola revealed no problems.''