Chris McCann is on the mend!

KEY midfielder Chris McCann admits his knee problems could have been career threatening.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2010, 5:00 am

Had he played on without undergoing anterior cruciate knee ligament surgery in August, the 23-year-old – for the sake of six more months out – could have been looking at the end.

However, he is now closing in on a return to first-team action at a pivotal time of the season, determined to help Burnley back into the Premier League.

McCann’s Premier League dream was cruelly snatched away on his sixth appearance in September, after a challenge with Sunderland’s Michael Turner.

And after almost 12 months of niggling knee problems, punctuated only by 100 minutes of action in January, he went under the knife after a second medical opinion, for a full reconstruction of the cruciate ligament, and he hopes to be back as good as new after the turn of the year.

The Dubliner said yesterday he feels he’s prolonged his career by undergoing surgery.

He said: “It’s definitely stronger than probably the other one will be now, and I won’t have too many problems with it any more.

“I just needed someone to encourage me to have it done.

“Six months from my career isn’t really a lot when you think if I’d have played on and done more damage

“It could have been the end of it.

“I could have done myself more damage.

“I think I did the right thing getting it done so that it’s fixed and it will be ready in a couple more months.”

The smile has returned after a tough time, and he is confident in his knee again: “It feels really good.

“There isn’t much swelling on it left. The last couple of weeks have been working on it and getting the swelling out completely and it’s totally gone now, which is probably the main thing I had to get rid of before I could start doing a lot more things out on the grass with the two physios.

“The last bit of swelling has shifted. Once I could start running it just completely went.

“The inside’s probably still a little touch big, but it will probably be like that now for the rest of my life. It probably won’t get much smaller than that.

“But with regard to how it feels, it feels unbelievable. It feels like my knee is mine again.

“Before it felt like there was something not right there. I’m just glad it’s fixed now and take it from there.”

McCann is out of contract in the summer, but has been discussing a new deal, buoyed by comments from Brian Laws at the time of the operation, when he said: “Chris is in the last year of his contract and we are very clear on that.

“This will not impact on our decisions on Chris. We expect a full recovery.

“What we expect is to readdress his contractual situation because we are not going to let it run out.”

And he would like nothing more than to stay at the place which has become home: “There have been a couple of talks so far but I just leave that up to my agent and the club to discuss.

“I’ve spoken to my agent in the last week or two and he keeps me posted as to what’s going on, but I tend not to worry too much about that. That’ll take care of itself.

“I’ll just let them do the talking in the boardroom.

“But I’m really happy here, I’ve got my own house and I’ve been here since I was 17 so in a way it’s a home from home.

“I’ve made a lot of friends here and I know a lot of people here so I’m quite happy to stay and play my football here.

“My contract’s nearly up but my agent’s talking to Brendan Flood about that at the minute.

“The sooner the better I get that fixed.”

McCann’s return would be some boost to the squad at a crucial stage of the season, and he would love to help clinch another promotion.

He said: “We’re in a great position in the league.

“Hopefully I can get back and give the boys a bit of a boost and try to do what we can to push us up that league a little bit more.

“Obviously the aim would be automatic, if not the top six, so it’s really exciting for me to come back in and be in a position where we have a great chance to go straight back up.”