Brown arrived back in Auckland on Tuesday night and, after consulting with an orthopaedic surgeon, the All Whites vice-captain's surgery was scheduled for tomorrow in a bid to keep his FIFA World Cup™ dream alive. New Zealand's opening match is against Slovakia in Rustenburg on June 15 and Brown admitted he was only a "50-50" chance of making it to South Africa.
"I'm trying to be real positive about that at the moment," he told reporters on his return to New Zealand. "But there's also a chance I won't be able to go. If that's the case, I'll put my hand up straight away and someone else can take my place. I'm not going to much anyone around."
Coach Ricki Herbert will give his workhorse midfielder, who has been a key component in getting the All Whites to their first FIFA World Cup since 1982, as much time as possible to prove his fitness. "Tim's an integral part of the team. He's been a big part of things for the last five years and he does a great job for us," Herbert said. "It'll be a big loss should he not make it."
New Zealand are travelling to their Austrian training base and have friendlies lined up against Serbia (29 May) and Slovenia (4 June) before they depart for South Africa where they have a training match against Chile in Nelspruit on 9 June. Herbert has seven players on standby as injury cover for his 23-man squad and Wellington midfielder Cole Peverley would be the likely replacement should Brown be ruled out. He will be flown to Austria but remain as a standby for the time being.
Brown, via a statement from New Zealand Football, said he wanted to thank all of the people who have sent personal messages, which were overwhelming and very much appreciated.