Rossi could return from knee injury in 6 weeks

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FLORENCE, Italy (AP) -- Fiorentina forward Giuseppe Rossi could return to the field in six weeks, much sooner than first thought after he injured his right knee again last weekend.

Rossi, who is from New Jersey, has a medial collateral ligament injury, the team said Monday. He limped off in tears during Sunday's 1-0 win over Livorno following a hard tackle from Leandro Rinaudo.

"It seems to be a sprain with damage to the collateral. We got lucky. He could return to the pitch in 6/7 weeks," one of his agents, Federico Pastorello, wrote in Italian on Twitter.

Rossi tore his right anterior cruciate ligament during a game for Villarreal against Real Madrid in October 2011 and needed three operations before returning last May with Fiorentina.

Fiorentina said Rossi will be examined by Colorado-based Dr. Richard Steadman, who operated on Rossi in April and October 2012, "in order to correctly evaluate the extent of the injury and the prognosis."

The club initially feared Rossi would be out for another six months, although that was later reduced to three with the news that it wasn't another ACL injury.

"We are more optimistic," Rossi's other agent, Andrea Pastorello, said as the pair left the hospital to applause from fans.

The 26-year-old Rossi is the top scorer in Serie A this season with 14 goals in 17 matches and has returned to the Italy team. He is expected to be a key part of Cesare Prandelli's World Cup roster.

"Because of what's happened, Giuseppe has a great strength of character," Prandelli said. "He knows how much we value him. I'll say now: stay strong Giuseppe, we're waiting for you."