Kerry are bracing themselves for the worst as Colm Cooper undergoes a scan on his injured knee this morning.
The county captain is being assessed in the renowned Santry Sports Surgery Clinic in Dublin after being forced to retire during the first half of Saturday’s All-Ireland Club semi-final in Portlaoise.
The 30-year-old damaged his right knee in the process of scoring a 19th minute point for Dr Crokes.
In kicking the ball, Cooper was sandwiched between two Castlebar defenders and fell to the ground in some distress.
After being tended to by the team doctor and physio, he limped off the field and was replaced by Michael Burns.
The joint was swollen to twice its normal size and the fear is Cooper has damaged his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which could jeopardise his season with Kerry.
Although he was able to walk to the dressing room, it is no indication that he hasn’t suffered an ACL rupture.
Cooper has enjoyed an almost completely injury-free senior career.
The only Championship game he has failed to start for Kerry since making his debut in 2002 came five years ago when he, along with Tomás Ó Sé, were benched for a qualifier because of a disciplinary issue.
Regardless of the injury, Cooper was unlikely to feature for Kerry in the remainder of their Division 1 campaign.
Manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice last month told this newspaper the player wouldn’t play any league football if Dr Crokes reached March 17’sAll-Ireland final.
He said they would reassess the situation should the club lose to Castlebar but added: “I think he’ll need a break.”
The feeling is now Cooper won’t be risked this spring even if the scan indicates no severe cruciate damage.
The eight-time All Star was appointed as Kerry captain this season, the third time he has been chosen for the role.
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