The surgeon who operated on Arsenal forward Eduardo's horrific leg injury has offered hope to Gunners fans praying Aaron Ramsey makes a full recovery from a similar setback.
The young Wales midfielder was stretchered off and taken straight to hospital after breaking his tibia and fibula in a challenge with Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross on Saturday.
He underwent surgery which the club revealed "successfully reduced the fractures", and Dr Khalid Baloch is cautiously optimistic that the 19-year-old - rated as one of the most promising young players in the Barclays Premier League - could one day return at the same level.
"If it's a straightforward fracture that's been dealt with appropriately with intensive physio then you stand a good chance of returning back to the previous level of activity," he told Press Association Sport.
"It is quite variable, the simplest fractures may heal up in two or three months and then there is a period of rehabilitation involved - especially with elite-level athletes.
"On the other hand, if it's a very serious injury it may take many months for the area to heal up and return back to functional activities. You've got a time period of anywhere from two or three months to six months for recovery.
"If it's a simple fracture then he is more likely to return to his previous level of activity. As the injury becomes more severe then obviously the rehabilitation is much harder and it's harder to return back to activity."
Having had a first-hand view of Eduardo's injury - suffered as a result of Birmingham defender Martin Taylor's challenge two years ago - at Selly Oak Hospital in the West Midlands, Dr Baloch is well qualified to speak on Ramsey's situation.
And he said: "If you look at the way Ramsey was tackled, it looks a fairly similar mechanism of injury (to Eduardo). There are lots of bones around that area so it's difficult to know whether it's the same bone that has been injured or not, but the area that's been injured is similar.
"There are different levels of fracture, which would have different treatment options. With anyone who breaks the lower part of their leg, what you do is look to reduce the fragments, or the bone pieces, back to where they should be and then they are held by screws or plates.
"It varies on exactly where the fracture is but in principle that is what you would do for a fracture around that area."
On the rehabilitation process, he added: "Initially most people are trying to get a range of movement back and also try to build up the muscles around that limb and reduce swelling and discomfort, that is the early phase of the rehabilitation process.
"Beyond that phase there is an increase in the range of impact activities with gradual progression to running and then back to sporting activities over a minimum six to 12 months."Reuse content