Van der Vaart to undergo second ankle operation
BERLIN, Apr 24 (Reuters) Hamburg SV playmaker Rafael van der Vaart will undergo a second operation within five months on his left ankle tomorrow and miss two at least two of his team's last three matches.
''I hope to at least be back for the final match against Werder Bremen,'' the Dutch international said before flying to Amsterdam for the operation to remove a metal pin inserted to stabilise his ankle in a December operation. The pin has become infected.
Van der Vaart has been the key reason behind HSV's surge up the Bundesliga table since moving to Hamburg before the start of the season.
Hamburg, who are in second place five points behind Bayern Munich with three matches left, have concentrated on holding second position and securing a place in the Champions League. Werder Bremen are in third place. The teams will play in Hamburg on May 13.
Hamburg will also be without defender Nigel de Jong, also from the Netherlands, for the rest of the season due to a knee injury.
REUTERS SHB RAI0031