Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech may be out of action for several months after surgery on a depressed fracture of his skull.
The 24-year-old picked the injury in a collision with Reading’s Stephen Hunt in Chelsea’s 1-0 Premiership win on Saturday.
Cech underwent a successful operation at the Radcliffe Infirmary’s specialist neuro-surgical unit in Oxford.
“I would think Cech is likely to be out for at least six months,” Peter Hamlyn, consultant neuro-surgeon and director for the centre of sports and exercise medicine at St Bartholomew’s Hospital told the Daily Telegraph.
“That is about the length of time it takes for stout bone healing to take place. If the brain underlying the fracture has been greatly injured, his time out may be even longer.
“If Petr Cech returns too soon from his head injury, the result could be fatal,” he said.
“He risks what is known as ‘second impact syndrome’. This happens when a second blow causes swelling to the brain before it has recovered fully from an earlier injury.
“It is a situation that could prove fatal, even if the first blow is deemed not to be serious.”
The 24-year-old keeper collided with Reading’s Stephen Hunt in the first minute of the game at the Madejski Stadium.
“The operation was successful but it is too early for an accurate assessment of his condition,” said a Chelsea statement.
“Chelsea have reviewed the video of both incidents.
“We endorse the post-match comments of Jose Mourinho regarding the seriousness of these incidents.
“Chelsea will be writing to the Football Association with our observations.”
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho said after the game that he was unhappy with Hunt’s challenge and said Cech was “lucky to still be alive”.
Reading boss Steve Coppell said he was confident Hunt was not deliberately trying to hurt the Chelsea keeper.
“I welcome Jose saying the FA should review them,” he said. “We apologise to Chelsea for the injuries but I still think both players will be vindicated.”
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