Houston doctors have confirmed the opinion that Liu Xiang requires surgery on a calcified tendon but China's world champion hurdler is seeking further advice and a less dramatic treatment for the foot injury that saw him withdraw from the Beijing Olympics in August.
Liu and his coach Sun Haiping flew to the United States last week for a second opinion but doctors there have drawn the same conclusions as their Chinese counterparts that surgery is his best option.
"The doctors suggested surgery, but we will see more doctors in the US and collect more opinions," Sun said in an interview during a Houston Rockets NBA game on Sunday.
"If it is possible to treat the injury without surgery, we will choose (that option)."
Liu was a strong favorite to defend his Olympic gold medal in the 110m hurdles at the Beijing Games, but he pulled out after limping through the start of his first heat and left the Bird's Nest clearly frustrated.
Although disappointed home fans voiced their support, Liu has since shunned the limelight and has only opened two of his training sessions to the public.
Hoping for a speedy recovery, he then elected to fly overseas to visit three leading US doctors.
Liu arrived in Houston last Thursday and was examined by Memorial Hermann Medical, which also offers medical treatment to Houston Rockets players like Yao Ming. Liu left Houston for Charlotte yesterday.
"We will collect all the doctors' suggestions and make a final decision back in China," said Sun. "The plan should ensure the full recovery of Liu's foot injury and will not cause lasting impairment to the tendon or further affect his normal training."
Without setting a firm date for Liu's return, Sun was optimistic it would not be long.
"It is only a matter of time," he added.
Liu is also enjoying some R&R in the US, having watched his first NBA game there and meeting up with fellow Shanghai native Yao.
The All-Star center invited him to his Yao Restaurant & Bar for a barbecue before a key Rockets home game that Yao's wife Ye Li accompanied Liu to.
"I have never watched a CBA game in China and this is my first time to experience an NBA match," Liu said.
(China Daily November 4, 2008)