Milan's Cassano cleared to return from heart surgery

AC Milan and Italy striker Antonio Cassano was cleared to return to the field Tuesday following minor heart surgery late last year.

The 29-year-old Cassano suffered a stroke on Oct. 29 on the team plane after a 3-2 win at Roma. He had minor heart surgery less than a week later to repair a defect.

A 10-man commission of Italian Sport Medicine cleared Cassano on Monday and he also received positive news Tuesday when Milan's medical staff cleared him for a return to action.

"AC Milan would like to communicate that Antonio Cassano has been given the go-ahead to play by the various legal and medical institutes involved in evaluating his case," Milan said in a statement. "Cassano can join the rest of the squad in training immediately and will also be available for selection."

Cassano had two goals and seven assists in nine Serie A matches before he was sidelined. He was also crucial for Italy in Euro 2012 qualifying, scoring six goals in 10 matches.

Milan faces Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal series Tuesday, and holds a two-point lead over unbeaten Juventus in Serie A.

Euro 2012, co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine, starts in June. Italy faces Spain, Croatia and Ireland in Group C.