FLORENCE, Italy (AP) - Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi has damaged ligaments in his right knee, though the injury is not as bad as first thought.
Rossi was thought to have ruptured the cruciate ligament in his right knee for a third time, but tests Monday revealed that the American-born forward has a collateral ligament injury.
While still serious, Rossi could avoid a third surgery on that knee and may return in three months rather than six.
Fiorentina said Rossi will soon be seen by the same surgeon who carried out the second operation ''in order to correctly evaluate the extent of the injury and the prognosis.''
Rossi limped off in tears in Sunday's 1-0 win over Livorno following a strong tackle from Leandro Rinaudo.
''We are more optimistic,'' Rossi's agent, Andrea Pastorello, said as the pair left the hospital to applause from fans.
Rossi tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in 2011, and did so again in training six months later before he had returned to first-team football.
The 26-year-old Rossi is the top scorer in Serie A this season with 14 goals in 17 matches and had returned to the Italy team. He was expected to be a key part of Cesare Prandelli's World Cup plans.
''Because of what's happened, Giuseppe has a great strength of character,'' Prandelli said. ''He knows how much we value him. I'll say now: stay strong Giuseppe, we're waiting for you.''
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