Salvador Cabanas could still make Paraguay's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ squad, insists one of the doctors treating the forward.
Cabanas was shot in the head in Mexico City just over a week ago following an incident in a city bar. The Club America striker was immediately transported to an intensive care unit at a local hospital and rushed into theatre where doctors made an attempt to remove the bullet lodged in his skull before deciding it would be too dangerous.
Cabanas, who was initially given only a 20 per cent chance of survival, is now beginning to regain movement in his arms and limbs and neurosurgeon Celso Fretes, who has close links with the Paraguayan FA, believes he has every chance of playing in the FIFA World Cup.
He [Cabanas] will, things being as they are, have the possibility of recovering in time.
"Cabanas' progress, the speed with which he was attended to, the excellency of the hospital team, Salvador's physical and spiritual strength...they are showing that his progress is being extremely positive," Fretes told Paraguay television channel Telefuturo.
"And I tell them (the Paraguay FA), I believe the right conclusion is that Salvador should not be out of the squad," he said. "He will, things being as they are, have the possibility of recovering in time. Salvador has to be included in the list and we have to give him the chance in these two to three months to go there evaluating his progress."
Cabanas is one of Paraguay's top players and was part of their FIFA World Cup squad in Germany four years ago. The 29-year-old is a prolific goalscorer and was expected to lead Paraguay's attack in South Africa this summer. And he insists he still can, with his father revealing his son had told him: "Papa, I'm going to play in the World Cup."
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce recently revealed he was interested in bringing the striker to the English Premier League. Cabanas, who has scored over 100 times in the Mexican top flight, has netted 18 goals in 24 matches this season.