Christie breaks leg in Middlesbrough training

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The Independent Football

The Middlesbrough striker Malcolm Christie will be out of action for the rest of the year after breaking his right leg in training yesterday.

The former Derby forward, who has scored once for Boro this season, fractured a tibia and although the club were originally hopeful the injury was not serious, those hopes were dashed last night. The injury to the 24-year-old striker's leg happened while he was at the club's Rockliffe Park training ground. Christie was taken to hospital where the leg was put in plaster until it is decided whether an operation will be necessary.

Boro's senior physiotherapist, Grant Downie, said: "It is quite obviously a serious injury but Malcolm is fortunate in that it is a clean fracture. As with all breaks, it will take time to heal but as it is not displaced he should make a complete recovery. We will decide over the next 48 hours if an operation to pin the fracture is required."

Christie's manager, Steve McClaren, said: "It is an enormous blow for us to lose a key player in this way. We're getting very little luck with injuries, but we have to get on with it."

After excelling during his time with Nuneaton Borough, Christie joined Derby in 1998 for £50,000. He joined Middlesbrough last January in a combined deal which saw his Derby team-mate Chris Riggott also move to the Riverside Stadium. He finished last season with 13 goals, four of them for Middlesbrough.