LEICESTER, England (AP) — Leicester center-back Wesley Fofana sustained a fractured left fibula after a late tackle during a friendly against Villarreal, the club confirmed Thursday, with manager Brendan Rodgers calling the challenge “horrendous.”
The 20-year-old French defender’s left ankle was also dislocated after forward Fer Nino’s tackle from behind in the second half of the preseason game against the Spanish team on Wednesday night at King Power Stadium.
Fofana was carried off on a stretcher and faces a long recovery as Leicester opens its league campaign in just over a week.
“He’s a top-class young player so he’s going to be a huge loss for us,” Rodgers said at his news conference ahead of Saturday’s Community Shield match against Manchester City.
“It was a horrendous challenge. He was really dominant in the game, Wesley. It wasn’t a good challenge at all,” Rodgers said.
The 20-year-old Nino said Thursday that he had privately apologized to Fofana, and then issued a public apology in Spanish and English on his Instagram account.
“At no time was it my intention to harm him, as unfortunately happened,” he wrote. “I sincerely hope that he has a speedy recovery and can return to the pitch as soon as possible to continue showing that he is a footballer of the highest level.”
Villarreal coach Unai Emery had also apologized.
“Unai, he apologized straight away, and afterwards there was an apology. It’s disappointing something like that to happen in a preseason friendly,” Rodgers said.
Fofana was set to have another scan later Thursday, but there was no immediate timetable for his recovery.
Rodgers said a team doctor “was able to put his ankle back in place” before Fofana was brought to the hospital.
“When they brought him into changing area afterwards, when he came off the pitch, they had to put his ankle back, where it was dislocated,” he said.
Leicester hosts Wolverhampton to kick off the season Aug. 14 but with center-back Jonny Evans sidelined by a foot problem and now Fofana’s injury, the team may be forced to find reinforcements, Rodgers said.
The FA Cup champion had designs on a Champions League spot by the end of the season after finishing fifth and missing out by one point in 2020-21.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports