COLOMBO: Two Sri Lankan cricketers injured during a gun and grenade attack in Pakistan were recovering Thursday after surgery, with the rest of those hurt likely be back in action in a few weeks, a doctor said.

Tharanga Paranavitana, who had a bullet lodged in his chest, and Thilan Samaraweera, who had shrapnel in his right leg, underwent surgery at a private hospital in Colombo hours after they returned on Wednesday.

"They will need around six weeks to completely recover from surgery," said Geethanjana Mendis, director general of the Sports Ministry medical unit.

Doctors also removed shrapnel from the shoulder of vice captain and wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara and from assistant coach Paul Farbrace, a British national, Mendis said.

He said several shards of metal were removed from the neck and head of bowler Ajantha Mendis.

Skipper Mahela Jayawardene was discharged from hospital after treatment for a minor leg injury, the doctor said. Players Thilan Thushara and Sampath Lakmal also underwent hospital treatment.

Geethanjana Mendis, who travelled to Pakistan to assess the wounded before their return, said the entire 25-member squad was medically checked on their return and only six were kept in hospital.

"Sangakkara will be discharged today (Thursday) and the others in due course. None of them had grave injuries. They will be back in action in a few weeks' time," he said.

Police stepped up security at the Nawaloka hospital where the players were being treated. Uniformed police as well as plain-clothed officers were placed outside their hospital rooms.

No cricket fans were allowed to visit the players, with only immediate family members given access, officials said.

Six policemen and two civilians were killed in Tuesday's ambush in the Pakistani city of Lahore, which also injured the seven players and the assistant coach.

The team is insured by local firm HNB Assurance, which has agreed to meet their medical bills, the chief executive, Manjula de Silva, said.

The policy, worth 40 million rupees (350,000 dollars), runs out on March 13 and Sri Lanka Cricket on Wednesday called for fresh bids to renew the contract.

Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, who rushed to arrange the evacuation of the national team from Lahore, said he could "not rule out" the possibility that Tamil Tigers were involved in the attack.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), known to have an extensive international support network, have lost most of their territory in the north of Sri Lanka following a major government offensive.
shim - Sri Lanka players recover in hospital after Lahore