Model Conversion .max to blender

The problem:
Convert a .max model with textures and keyframe animation into a blender file.

What I have:
Working max and blender 2.5
A textured and animated .max model.

How far I’ve managed to get:
I can successfully get a model with materials from max into blender. However the format I can do this with does not handle the animation stuff.

Using md5 as the intermediate step I can export to md5, then import the mesh, bones and animations.
However, in md5 the textures are kept separately.

The question:
How do I put all the above together to get the animated, textured model in blender?
NOTE: I have no blender or max knowledge or skill whatsoever. I’m a programmer, not an artist.

Thanks.

I think Collada would be the way to go, unfortunately the Illusoft Blender plug-in seems broken on 2.45, and it does not support the <skin> element.

I am writing a new plug-in using the official COLLADA_DOM (I am a programmer as well), but its not yet quite ready for show time, in my case I want to get DAZ3D models into Blender.