RYAN TAYLOR could be sent to the man who saved Alan Shearer’s career in a bid to ensure he plays again for Newcastle United.
The Journal understands that club medics are weighing up the possibility of sending the 28-year-old to world-renowned knee specialist Dr Richard Steadman in Colorado for his operation.
The surgeon has been the saviour for some of the most famous names in sport, many of whom credit him for rescuing their careers from being ended by serious injury.
The luckless Taylor, who over the weekend tweeted a picture of himself wearing a heavy leg brace, would be in the best of hands if it were decided that he makes the trip to the States.
He would only have to ask Newcastle’s most-loved living legend for reassurance about the surgeon’s magic touch.
Shearer visited Steadman twice in 2001, in the small town of Vail, when suffering from numerous knee problems, and a photograph hangs in his office from the former United captain with the message; “Just when I was getting frustrated with the pain, you took it away. Many, many thanks”.
Ruud van Nistlerooy’s move to Manchester United looked dead in the water when he suffered cruciate ligament damage in 2002, but Steadman and his team rebuilt the Dutchman’s knee which, like that of Taylor, had given way twice within the space of a year.
And the striker went on to score more than 100 goals for the Old Trafford outfit before spending four seasons with Real Madrid.
The former forward’s Man United shirt is on the wall of the surgery with the tribute: “Thank you for giving me back my dream”.
Juventus and Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero is another footballer with cause to thank Steadman.
Taylor had hoped he was only weeks away from a possible first-team return before his right knee crumpled beneath him a week ago during a training session when there was nobody near him.
His original injury came back in
August during the European clash against Atromitos at St James’ Park.
Newcastle fans chanted Taylor’s name during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with West Brom and he has been overwhelmed with the messages he’s received.
Taylor, on his own Twitter account, said: “Really nice to have so much support from a lot of fans from different clubs. Thanks to all of you.”
Steadman is responsible for prolonging the playing careers of Michael Owen, Wigan’s Shaun Maloney and Brazilian icon Ronaldo, who won the World Cup in 2002 after the American had operated on him 18 months previously. Cricketers Michael Vaughan and Ashley Giles, along with former tennis star Martin Navratilova, have all been clients.
Steadman, 66, can also claim the remarkable record of having operated on every US skier to win an Olympic medal since 1978.
The man himself is proud of not only how he fixes the badly ruined knees of sports stars, but the way his team continues to support the client during their rehab.
In an interview with the BBC, Steadman said: “The success rate is the thing that makes people choose a physician. We do have a very good success rate, and with recognisable patients. It’s not to say I’m a better surgeon, it’s to do with the system we’ve created here.
“We have a good situation for surgery, an excellent rehabilitation area and there’s some advantage to the fact we’re fairly remote.
“We also have a major research foundation that has a tie-in to our clinic. So, not only do we do the surgery, we also do the follow-up.
“If someone has a problem, we’re able to say what their chances of success with surgery are, relying on the data we build up.”
Taylor is not expected to play again for the whole of next season, no matter what treatment he receives.