Injured ex-Blades player sues over knee surgery

Sharu Naraji
Sharu Naraji
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A FORMER Blades player who claims his career was ruined in a botched knee operation is suing an American surgeon for millions of pounds.

Sharu Naraji, aged 27, who signed with Sheffield United in August 2005, said his dreams of playing in the Premiership and World Cup were shattered the following year when an operation failed to rectify a knee injury.

The Bolton-born winger has now launched a multi-million-pound claim for damages against top US sports injury surgeon Dr K Donald Shelbourne, who carried out an operation to reconstruct the player’s cruciate ligament.

Documents filed at the High Court said Naraji, who played for Iranian champions, Esteghal, and had spells at Italian club Torino and Spanish side Real Zaragoza before signing for Sheffield United injured his knee before he could play for the first team.

He was sent to a specialist in America but claims his knee never fully recovered and he was still reporting a weakness in the joint 16 months after the operation and that by then he had been released by Sheffield United, who were then in the Premiership.

Mr Naraji said he had also been invited to train with the Iranian national squad ahead of the 2006 World Cup, but missed out due to injury.

His lawyers claim negligence on the part of Dr Shelbourne prevented Mr Naraji from continuing a lucrative career in the Premiership or another top league, and from going into management after retiring.

Mr Naraji is also bringing a claim against Manchester-based consultant orthopaedic surgery, Sanjiv Jari, who he claims should have spotted or told him about the alleged operation mistake during subsequent consultations.

Satinder Hunjan QC, for Mr Naraji, says in court documents: “If the revision of the cruciate ligament reconstruction had been undertaken appropriately then the claimant would have had a stable knee which functioned appropriately and the claimant would have returned to playing high- level professional football by around March 2007.”

Dr Shelbourne, his Shelbourne Clinic in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Mr Jari deny negligence or causing Mr Naraji’s losses, and are also disputing whether English laws or those of the state of Indiana should apply.

Under Indiana’s laws, any potential damages would be limited to £1.25 million, but if English law is used his lawyers believe he could receive much more.

n Blades v Millers verdict: P38-39