Pepe recovery on track

MADRID - Real Madrid central defender Pepe is recovering well after surgery on the damaged anterior cruciate ligament in his knee that has put his participation in this year's World Cup in doubt.

"Little by little I am gaining strength and we hope that in a week or two I can stop using the crutches," the Portuguese international said on Real's website.

"The doctor says I am in good shape and that I am recovering according to plan," he added. Pepe sustained the injury in last month's 3-2 La Liga win at Valencia when he jumped for a high ball and landed awkwardly.