RYAN SHAWCROSS was rushed to hospital suffering what appeared to be a horror leg-break during Stoke’s friendly with Leicester City.
The Potters captain slid in to challenge Foxes winger Marc Albrighton just before half-time in the Potters’ final pre-season match and won the ball with his right foot.
However his trailing left leg buckled alarmingly beneath him and anxious teammates immediately signalled to the bench that the 31-year-old defender was seriously injured.
Fans winced at replays which showed Shawcross’s left leg crumple on impact and the stricken skipper held his head in his hands before medics applied an oxygen mask to ease his obvious pain.
Shocked players on both sides turned away as the severity of the injury became apparent.
And it took eight minutes before Shawcross was led away on a stretcher and rushed by ambulance to hospital with a suspected ankle break.
The injury came as a massive blow to Potters boss Nathan Jones just seven days before his side’s opening game of the season at home to QPR.
And providing an update after the game, Jones said: “It’s not an easy injury.
“He’s having X-rays and scans now and we don’t know the full extent of it so it would be wrong to speculate.
“We’ve got good medical staff with him and we’re waiting for results. There’s a lot that could happen. He could be kept in, he could come home quickly.
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“But look, it’s not a two-week one, if you know what I mean, it’s something more serious. But until we find out there’s no point speculating.
“You can tell RIGHT AWAY when some people are injured.
“He goes down and he’s not one to do that. They put their arm up and you can tell it’s something very serious.”
In 2010, Shawcross was involved in another sickening incident when his horror challenge on Aaron Ramsey left the Welshman with a snapped tibia and fibula.
Shortly after the incident, Shawcross revealed Ramsey had blanked his advances to make contact and apologise.
And he went on to claim the tackle ‘changed his public persona’.