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Watford loan player Jorge Hurtado will have surgery on a knee injury and may have played his last game for League 2 Gillingham

Jorge Hurtado may have played his last game for Gillingham after a decision was made over his injury treatment.

The winger, on loan from Watford, picked up an injury for the Gills in the match against Swindon Town, in what was only his third appearance for the club, all coming off the substitutes’ bench. Scans revealed knee cartilage damage and it’s been decided he will now have an operation.

Jorge Hurtado made three substitute appearances for the Gills after joining on loan from Watford but will now have surgery on a knee injury Picture: @Julian_KPI
Jorge Hurtado made three substitute appearances for the Gills after joining on loan from Watford but will now have surgery on a knee injury Picture: @Julian_KPI

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The Gills had hopes the South American forward could have helped their promotion push this season, and he impressed on his three brief showings but will stay with the Championship side Watford during his rehabilitation period.

Gills head coach Stephen Clemence hasn’t ruled out a return by the end of the season - and the loan agreement remains in place - but it’s looking unlikely.

Clemence confirmed the news at his weekly press conference on Thursday, saying: “When you have surgery and you’re coming up to March time, generally you don’t usually feature (again in the season), whether you are in the play-offs or not.

“There is normally a bit of recovery time but he is young and when you are young you do heal quicker, so you never know, but it is a huge blow for everyone.

“It’s a shame for everyone because he did give us something different, he had that pace, that work-rate, that bit of skill to go past someone and he was feeling really confident because of how everyone had been to him around the club and how the fans had taken to him. He was in a really good place.

“He will be a big miss, it is not to be and we have to move forward without him.

“We have been very unfortunate with the players we’ve brought to the club, sometimes things go against you but, when that happens it’s an opportunity for someone else, someone else has to step up to the plate.

“I am sure everyone in the dressing room will be hungry to make an impression against Wrexham at the weekend.”

Hurtado’s knee flared up in training after the Swindon game, which heavy blows in that fixture given as the cause. On at least two occasions he was taken out while running with the ball.

Clemence - who enjoyed a battle himself as a top-flight footballer - was asked if League 2 was the place for a flare player of Hurtado’s calibre.

He said: “He took a couple of big whacks and I thought they were nasty tackles, the way some of their players were coming in on him, which obviously hasn’t helped at all.

“The Premier League can be rough as well, everyone thinks they are just silky footballers up there, but there are some strong, quick men at that level as well.

“Football players on the pitch want to win, the ball is there and they can take the ball and take a bit of the man, that’s what goes on, I don’t think that will ever change. I know the rules have changed slightly and tackling has toned down a bit and it is probably more there in the lower leagues.

“As a player I have been on the wrong side of tackles but I have given out a few myself - but that is the competitive nature of the game.”

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