The World Cup needs you
Get well soon, Suarez
Surprise packages are rarely delivered at modern World Cup Finals.
Everyone gets watched beforehand. Names are checked. New talents are identified and analysed on the endless conveyor belt of World Cup previews and predictions.
Unknown superstars seldom slip through the media net.
For these reasons, Luis Suarez must board the plane to Brazil.
He's not a surprise package, but his package is never less than surprising, as it were. What you see is not always what you get.
The Uruguayan is a sporting chameleon; adaptable, changeable and, most importantly, unpredictable.
His anarchic improvisation was the gift that kept on giving at Anfield. His knee should recover so he's got more to give at the World Cup.
In recent tournaments, satellite TV has suffocated suspense. YouTube videos killed the rising stars.
Back in 1982, the world had heard and read of Diego Maradona's wizardry, but few had witnessed his magic act before the tournament. He was just a name in a newspaper, a head shot in a Panini sticker book. He wasn't a viral YouTube clip.
Superstar auditions were held exclusively at World Cup tournaments. They were the only venues available to a wider audience. Heroes were discovered, names made and stars born on global stages once every four years.
Promising talent didn't so much fall through the cracks as it slipped through the chasm between tournaments.
That doesn't happen now. That can't happen now. From Manaus to Marine Parade, a sublime goal in any significant league is an instant download; its architect an overnight sensation and a World Cup candidate by morning.
Roger Milla came from nowhere in 1990. Today's World Cup squads step straight from their latest multi-media marketing platforms.
Individuals remain awe-inspiring, but difficult to shock.
Suarez is one of the few who brings shock and awe to the party. Like a kid's jack-in-the-box, his capabilities are well known. But he still makes you jump. He still gets bums off seats.
The Uruguayan transcended mere performance last season and pushed on towards perfection.
His Liverpool games were season-long tales of the unexpected.
Thirty-one goals and every individual honour worth winning acknowledge his inspirational displays, but what this World Cup needs most is an agent of chaos, with an addiction to risk.
In previous tournaments, surprises came from unfamiliar names being watched for the first time.
In Brazil, the surprises would come every time Suarez received the ball.
He's a buck-toothed sparkplug, ready to ignite Uruguay's Group D campaign. England and Italy fear him. The Uruguayans revere him. Manager Oscar Tabarez built his side around him.
His country and his continent will suffer without him.
Paul Dummett has received death threats from Uruguay fans after the Newcastle defender's tackle in the final game of the Premier League season against Liverpool caused Suarez's knee injury. The abuse is objectionable and unfair, but an extreme manifestation of a country's concern.
Tabarez's defensive approach, often playing with seven men behind the ball, is almost entirely dependent on their alchemist's ability to make magic when in possession.
He did it four times against Chile, calling the memorable World Cup qualifier in 2011 one of his finest games for either club or country.
But La Celeste's all-time top scorer is a more accomplished player than the one who provided every goal in that remarkable 4-0 victory. He assists more and argues less.
His bark is now worse than his bite. He castigates himself for any perceived shortcomings rather than lash out at opponents for theirs.
Earlier this week, Bloomberg Sports released their "Power 50" rankings for this year, which analysed every player in the English, French, German, Italian and Spanish first divisions.
The research dissected the defensive and attacking responsibilities of each player and examined the quality of the opposition in each game.
Suarez finished top, above Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The findings surprised only those not privileged to watch Liverpool regularly last season.
England supporters are now celebrating the possibility of the striker not recovering from his minor surgery in time for their Group D game on June 19, which is partially understandable but a bit like buying a U2 ticket and hoping Bono falls ill.
The Three Lions' potential gain would be the tournament's crushing loss.
In the age of the instant YouTube clip, anything fresh or original is a precious commodity to be cherished and championed.
And Suarez defied predictability all season. The World Cup would be weakened without the master of surprise.
Wish Luis Suarez a speedy recovery ... Hope he’s fit for Uruguay’s World Cup game against Italy.
- Ex-England captain Gary Lineker on Twitter
Dummett gets death threat
Newcastle defender Paul Dummett was the subject of an online death threat on Thursday after Uruguay fans blamed him for the injury that has dealt Luis Suarez a World Cup scare.
The Uruguay Football Association announced that 27-year-old Suarez had undergone minor knee surgery, suggesting he damaged the meniscus in Liverpool's final match of the season against Newcastle.
Suarez's arthroscopic surgery lasted about 30 minutes and he is likely to be sidelined for at least a couple of weeks but Uruguay officials remain confident he will be fit for the World Cup.
Uruguay's first match is against Costa Rica on June 15 before they face England in Sao Paolo on June 19.
The assurances were not enough to prevent a furious reaction from several Uruguay supporters on Twitter, including menacing warnings for 22-year-old fullback Dummett, who collided with Suarez towards the end of Liverpool's victory at Anfield.
Dummett was sent off after catching Suarez in what looked an accidental collision. His red card was later rescinded.
One Twitter user, Federico Gonzalez, posting on @FicoGonzalez13, wrote: "Hi @PaulDummett, from Uruguay we hope someday u come here to have a nice time w/ friends. We have things for you, like a bullet in the head."
There had been no report of an injury for Suarez as a result of the challenge, but he complained of pains at the start of Uruguay's training camp and was sent for an MRI scan.
A statement from the Uruguay Football Association (AUF) said that he underwent an arthroscopic partial resection of his meniscus in the Medica Uruguaya hospital in Montevideo.
The statement read: "There was no evidence of any further damage to the knee. His participation in the World Cup in Brazil has not been ruled out.
"It is worth noting the player received a blunt trauma to his left knee in the final game of the Premier League season against Liverpool on Sunday, May 11, which provoked a pain that subsided due to rest at the end of the season."
Uruguay FA president Wilmar Valdez suggested if Suarez's recovery went to plan, he could return to training in just over a fortnight.
"We know the surgery was a success and that the injury is not serious. We have to wait and see how he recovers," he told Uruguayan newspaper La Ovacion.
"We had very little time to react and without knowing the extent of the injury, we didn't want to raise the alarm to the public.
"These are injuries that, considering Suarez's fitness and if the recovery is good, will not take long for him to return to play.
"We have to calculate if he will arrive for the first, second or third (group game at the World Cup).
"We know that normally the recovery period, if all goes well, is around 15 days to return to training.
"Considering how valuable he is to the national team, it is a big concern for us." - PA Sport.