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Santi Cazorla has revealed he is working hard to ensure he recovers from his knee injury as quickly as possible, with a timeline of three months floated. The Spain international added he would not risk his health, but will try to return during March to help the Arsenal during the run-in.
The 31-year-old playmaker was forced to undergo surgery in early December following a rupture to the external knee ligament during the 1-1 draw with Norwich City on 29 November. Arsene Wenger then claimed the Spaniard would be out for four months, but the Spaniard is hoping for a quicker comeback
"I am trying to take it well. These are the things that happen in football and I am trying to recover as soon as possible. I have to be ready mentally to work and hopefully I can shorten the recovery time as much as possible," he said to Cadena Cope.
"I do not want to set a time but I want to play in three months. I do not want to extend it more if it is possible. Arsenal have told me it will be between three and four months, which may be closer to four. I have already said that I will work hard, I want to make everything I can to play in March but we will see how it goes. We are not going to force it if is going to be bad. But my priority is to play in March.
"The club have told me to be calm and that when I return we will be in the finals (laughs). I hope so. The important thing is that the team do well and I recover as soon as possible."
Cazorla revealed he was scared when he sustained the knock against Norwich, but still played the whole 90 minutes as he did not expect it to be such a serious issue.
"It was a play in the second half of the game. I took a knock but played the whole game in pain. I limped a lot but had no signs that could have a knee injury until after the game. Doctors told me I had torn the ligaments and that I had to have surgery. It was a blow because after playing, even with pain and limping, you don't expect that," he said. "I got really scared when I had the knock because I had so much pain and the leg had fallen asleep because I had been struck on the sciatic nerve."
"I was a little bit scared but as the minutes passed and I was hot I didn't have much pain so I could finish the game. Perhaps I should have asked to be subbed but I did not know I had such a serious injury, even the doctors tell me that they don't understand how I could play so long with this injury."
As soon as doctors confirmed the bad news he put his trust in prestigious Spanish doctor Ramon Cugat.
"I got home, tried walking and playing with my son and thinking that maybe it wasn't that bad. But at the same time I couldn't do some gestures and I felt the knee was unstable so I got mentally ready. I went for the scan with the idea that could be something serious," he said.
"Both the club's doctors and I decided to have the surgery with Cugat because I have confidence in him and he has a spectacular CV. I went to Barcelona and the operation was very successful. Now we have to be patient."
Cazorla also hopes that the injury does not hamper his chance of playing at Euro 2016 with Spain, having already received the support of manager Vicente Del Bosque.
"Del Bosque and people from the national team were the first to call me. I want to thank everyone who has given their support in recent days," he said. "The manager told me to be calm because the important thing was to recover. I told him I would do everything to be fit as soon as possible and hopefully be ready for the Euros."