Leverkusen captain Bender needs op, out for rest of season

LEVERKUSEN, Germany (AP) " Bayer Leverkusen captain Lars Bender has been ruled out for the rest of the season as he needs an operation on his ankle.

Leverkusen coach Tayfun Korkut says, "There hasn't been any decisive improvement lately with Lars, even when he rested it completely for a few days. It's important for us to settle the issue clearly and quickly. It's not a big procedure - inflamed tissue will be removed."

Bender, who has been plagued by injuries for the last year and a half, says, "I'm staying positive because I got to the stage where I couldn't play. I'm already looking forward to when I can play without worries again."

Leverkusen is only four points clear of the relegation zone with nine games remaining.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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