Football: Debutant Engelaar now faces long layoff with broken leg

SYDNEY (AFP) - Melbourne Heart's new Dutch signing Orlando Engelaar prepared for surgery on Thursday and an indefinite layoff, after breaking his leg while making his debut in a pre-season friendly, the A-League football club said.

The 34-year-old holding midfielder fractured his left tibia after a heavy collision with Brisbane Roar's German playmaker Thomas Broich, as they contested for the ball in the match last weekend.

The game at Lismore, in New South Wales, was Engelaar's first for Heart and the club said he was set for an operation later on Thursday, followed by a lengthy rehabilitation programme.

"The club does not wish to put in place a timeline for recovery until the surgical process has concluded," Heart general manager John Didulica said.

"Our No.1 one priority is to support Orlando and manage his health and well-being in what is obviously a challenging time."

Engelaar, who played 14 times for the Netherlands including at the 2008 European Championship, came to Australia after spells with Twente, Schalke and PSV Eindhoven.