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Japan’s World Cup defender Atsuto Uchida said on Sunday that his return date from a right-knee injury remains uncertain.

The Schalke 04 right-back has not played since March. He had surgery in June to repair the patellar tendon in the knee, but said there is still no timetable for his comeback and does not expect to be on the pitch for club or country anytime soon.

“I wonder myself how things will turn out because it’s been a drawn-out process of getting better one day and worse the next,” Uchida said following Schalke’s 3-1 home defeat to Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

“(The knee) always swells at night and when it hurts, it really hurts. From what I understand, my injury is rare so it’s not easy for the doctor to make decisions.”

Japan wraps up its second round of World Cup qualifying on March 24 and 29 at home to Afghanistan and Syria, respectively.

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