NFL

Aston Villa almost uses Browns' medics

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Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner wanted to use the franchise's medical staff to help solve an injury crisis at his English soccer club, Aston Villa.

The relegation-threatened team has been playing without top scorer Darren Bent and key defender Richard Dunne for weeks after both suffered serious injuries, while captain Stiliyan Petrov shockingly was diagnosed with acute leukemia.

Facing a difficult end to the season, Lerner offered Dunne the chance to fly to Ohio to undergo a week's rehabilitation for his broken collarbone, an upper-body injury dealt with far more often by the Browns staff than Villa's medical team.

Dunne, who is desperate to return to the field to guarantee his selection in the Republic of Ireland team at Euro 2012, originally agreed to the transatlantic trip and was on the verge of traveling.

But the plan was abandoned after he made enough progress in his recovery to begin work with a soccer ball, drills that the NFL team could not offer him, the Birmingham Post reported.

Villa's Premier League status has been brought into question following a run of bad results before the weakened team claimed a valuable point at Liverpool on Saturday.

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