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Paraguay's midfielder Salvador Cabanas, centre, might eventually return to play. ((Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images))

The surprising recovery of Paraguay soccer player Salvador Cabanas from a gunshot wound to the head will hasten with his expected release from a Buenos Aires rehabilitation clinic this month.

Cabanas, who would have featured on Paraguay's World Cup team, will be released on May 23 from the Fleni Clinic. Cabanas is still experiencing some problems with his vision, but his physical recovery is nearly complete, said clinic director Lisandro Olmos on Friday.   

Olmos said Cabanas, who was shot in the head at point-blank range, has no memory of the Jan. 25 shooting in a bar in an upscale neighbourhood of Mexico City. Cabanas played in the city for Club America.

Cabanas's name was left off a preliminary World Cup roster submitted a few days ago by Paraguay. But Olmos speculated he might eventually return to play.

"We are not ruling this out," Olmos said of a possible return to the pitch. "He is progressing very well, but he has to be given time."

Six weeks ago, Cabanas was shown on a widely distributed video taking free kicks and shooting baskets in the recreation area of the Buenos Aires clinic.

Olmos said Cabanas's vision is his main problem.

"If Salvador were in the middle of a football field, he would be able to see his teammates on his right better than those on his left," Olmos said. "We have to work on this."

After the shooting, surgeons opted to leave the bullet fragment lodged in Cabanas's skull, because attempting to remove it would be too risky.

Cabanas's agent, Jose Maria Gonzalez, said the two would travel to the World Cup as fans if Cabanas is able.

Paraguay will be participating in its fourth straight World Cup and plays in Group F with defending champion Italy, New Zealand and Slovakia.