No decision yet on Owen's groin surgery

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LONDON, Sep 26 (Reuters) England striker Michael Owen could need groin surgery but no decision has yet been made, Newcastle United manager Sam Allardyce said.

Owen limped off in Newcastle's 3-1 win over West Ham United on Sunday and media reports said he needed a groin operation that would almost certainly rule him out of England's Euro 2008 qualifiers against Estonia and Russia next month.

''He may need one, he may not,'' Allardyce told Sky Sports News after his side lost 2-0 at Arsenal in the League Cup third round yesterday.

''He has a groin injury and will see a specialist again. He may need an operation eventually but he has not got a hernia. He has a tear in his abductor muscle.'' Owen's career has been blighted by injury since joining Newcastle from Real Madrid in 2005.

He broke a metatarsal in December 2005 and then at the 2006 World Cup finals suffered a cruciate knee injury that sidelined him for virtually the whole of last season.

After missing the beginning of this season with a thigh problem, Owen returned to score three goals in England's back-to-back wins over Israel and Russia.

With Owen doubtful, England manager Steve McClaren may have to find a new strike partnership next month.

Wigan Athletic's Emile Heskey, who did well alongside Owen against Israel and Russia, is ruled out after he broke a metatarsal in a Premier League match.

REUTERS BJR SSC1038

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