TWICE-CAPPED Republic of Ireland international defender Damien Delaney celebrates his 29th birthday back at home today having suffered a potentially career-threatening thigh injury in training last Thursday.
The Ipswich Town man underwent two operations to save his career during four days in hospital.
Delaney picked up what was initially thought to be a run-of-the-mill dead leg but as his pain increased and his leg started to swell, Ipswich’s medical staff began to become increasingly alarmed.
They rushed him to Ipswich Hospital less than a mile away from the club’s training ground where his leg was quickly cut open to reduce the swelling. A second operation followed on Saturday.
The injury is understood to be compartment syndrome and is similar to the one suffered by Tottenham’s Christian Ziege in 2003 when there were fears the German international might have lost a limb. Ziege went on to make a full recovery and returned to playing later that season.
Manager Roy Keane says Delaney is very fortunate not to be looking at a fate significantly more serious than three months on the sidelines.
“He’s a very lucky boy,’’ Keane said. “He was very lucky our medical staff got him to the hospital very quickly and they operated very quickly.
“There was a lot of bleeding and they had to open up his leg, but we believe the surgery went very well. It could have been the end of his career, very much so.”
Ipswich midfielder David Norris says Delaney’s team-mates had no inkling of the seriousness of the situation until they assembled ahead of the weekend friendly defeat to PSV in the Netherlands.
Norris said: “We left training and it was a dead leg he was icing. Obviously it’s taken a turn for the worst.
“It’s a shame with him just coming back from injury. He and Gareth McAuley were a huge presence after the first part of last season and hopefully he’ll be back soon.”
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