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Kanu Returns After Heart Surgery

February 11, 1998

FLORENCE, Italy (AP) _ Nwankwo Kanu, the Nigerian whose promising career was threatened by congenital heart disease, made his Italian League debut Wednesday night for Internazionale of Milan.

The 21-year-old forward entered with five minutes left in Inter’s 1-1 tie at Fiorentina. Kanu underwent surgery for a deformed aortic heart valve at the Cleveland Clinic in November 1996, three months after leading Nigeria to the gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics.

A full return is considered key to Nigeria’s hopes at this summer’s World Cup .

His comeback hampered by a series of leg injuries, Kanu appeared sparingly in exhibition matches and three Italian Cup games. But Inter had held him out of the tougher league action.

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