Newcastle Jets: Coach confident Ben Kantarovski will bounce back from latest knee surgery

SIDELINED: Jets medical staff examine Ben Kantarovski’s knee after the midfielder aggravated an injury against Sydney FC. Picture: Marina NeilLUCKLESS midfielder Ben Kantarovski had arthroscopicsurgery on his troublesomeright knee on Monday and faces up to six weeks on the sideline.

The 24-year-old consulted a specialist on Thursday after aggravating a cartilage problem in the 2-0 loss to Sydney 10 days ago.

It wasthe fourth operation on his right knee since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in 2010.

“It was a minor tear and they nicked it off,” Jets coach Mark Jones said. “The knee was actually in much better condition than they thought. He should only be out for four to six weeks.”

Kantarovski, who is off contract, injured the sameknee in the first encounter with Sydney in round four and missed Newcastle’s next two games.

“Kanta is a fairly positive guy,” Jones said.

“He just wants to play regularly. It is disappointing for this to happen but it was only a minor thing. It was probably the best outcome. However, he needs to get through the remainder of the season without any injuries.”

Midfield is an area where the Jets have depth.

“Steve (Ugarkovic) and Mateo (Poljak) were very good against Perth,” Jones said. “Midfield is Johnny Koutroumbis’spreferred position. Browny can obviously drop back there, although I thought he wasmagnificent as a 10.”

Jones also had high praise for Koutroumbis, who has has made seven straight appearance since joining the Jets from Adelaide as a injury replacement.

“He is a young kid thrown in a little bit early than he needs to be but he has done a job,” Jones said.“Whensomeone like that firstcomes into the league, they make mistakes and they turn things over. But if you don’t give them an opportunity and don’t stick by them, they never get to step up. No matter what happens that kid gives 100%. He has something about him. He has an undying belief but he is also very critical of himself and doesn’t accept when he makes mistakes.”

Kantarovski is the seventh player to suffer a serious injury in 10 rounds.However, most are either back or about to return.Dan Mullen (knee) and Andrew Nabbout (ankle) were outstanding in their come back game against Perth. Morten Nordstrand (hip flexor) and Lachy Jackson (ankle) will be available for the clash against Adelaide at home on Friday.

Skipper Nigel Boogaard, who travelled to Perth but didn’t play, will also have another week of training under his belt.

“All of a sudden, we start to have some depth in positions,” Jones said. “There is competition which will help us maintain the level we showed against Perth.”

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