We have had metatarsals (Beckham, Rooney, Neville), cruciate ligaments (Owen), and achilles tendons (Beckham again). Now the nation turns its expertise to sprained ankles.
Such injuries are common in football and yesterday's MRI scan on Rooney's ankle revealed the extent of the sprain – and the likely spell out of action of between four and six weeks.
Professor Angus Wallace, orthopaedic surgeon and sports injury specialist of Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, who saw Rooney stumble and clutch his leg on television, confirmed initial thoughts that the striker was most likely to miss several weeks, though news that he was walking on the plane will be gladly received by fans. "Rooney is not the sort to over-react," said Wallace. "The inversion probably tore the lateral ligament. The question is the extent of the tear." The scan results showed no tear and as a result estimates of the striker's likely absence were revised down.
"What has changed [with treatment] in recent years," said Wallace, "is we start moving the joint much more quickly, within two or three weeks. This is backed by good evidence showing healing is much better."
There are three grades of sprains. Grade One means there has been some stretching or minor tearing of ligaments. Grade Two means there has been moderate tearing, causing pain and difficulty walking. Grade Three means total rupture with severe pain and swelling. Mild sprains start to get better in a days. Severe ones can involve months of rehabilitation.