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Newcastle United will be without Hugo Viana until March after the Portuguese midfielder returned home to undergo shoulder surgery.

Viana dislocated his shoulder in training at the beginning of the month and it was hoped that a period of rest would avert the need for surgery. However, when the shoulder was examined recently, it popped out again, leaving the player with no option but surgery.

Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson said: “I would gladly accept a ten-month lay-off for that type of injury but these things tend to take at least three months to heal properly and we feel it could be longer.”

“Hugo was examined by the specialist last Friday and during that examination his shoulder popped out again. If it’s that weak in those circumstances, then imagine what could happen during a Premiership football match. That’s when we realised an operation was necessary and Hugo is in Portugal this week where it will be carried out.”

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