7th January 2014 – England forward Theo Walcott will miss the World Cup after being injured in Arsenal's 2-0 FA Cup win against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.
The 24 year old sustained a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee and faces surgery in London.
A statement from The Gunners says Walcott is expected to be out for at least 6 months and will therefore miss the remainder of the season and the World Cup this summer.
Matt Todman, a sports physiotherapist with Six Physio, agrees that Walcott will probably be watching his England team-mates on TV while he recovers. "Generally you're looking at a period of at least 6 months – maybe up to a year – before you can get back into contact sports," he tells BootsWebMD.
Walcott twisted his knee while being tackled in the closing minutes of Saturday's match at the Emirates. Despite being stretchered off he did not appear to be in serious pain and made a 2-0 hand gesture at Spurs fans. However, a subsequent scan revealed the rupture.
Matt Todman explains: "The cruciate ligament is a large ligament that sits inside the knee and controls the amount of rotation the knee has, how the knee locks back, and also more importantly it tells you where your knee is in space."
Walcott's surgery will involve removing the torn cruciate ligament and replacing it with a piece of one of his own tendons, usually the hamstring tendon or sometimes the patella (kneecap) tendon.
Matt Todman says Walcott will have the best possible chance of making a full recovery as quickly as possible. "The point about him is he's young, he's fit, he's got good endurance, got good control and an amazing medical team around him," he says.
A statement on Arsenal's website says: "Everyone at Arsenal wishes Theo a speedy recovery and we look forward to seeing him back on a football pitch as soon as possible."
With Nicolas Bendtner also out, manager Arsene Wenger may need to look for replacements up front during the January transfer window, although Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is due to return to the club later this month following a knee injury.
Walcott's injury is also a blow for Roy Hodgson who faces taking his England squad to Brazil without the winger, known for his pace and movement.
To provide even greater transparency and choice, we are working on a number of other cookie-related enhancements. More information