A broken leg for Kelly Smith has hit England’s preparations for next year’s Uefa European Championships finals.
A broken leg tragedy for America-based striker Kelly Smith has hit England’s preparations for next year’s Uefa European Championships finals.
After missing much of the last four seasons through long-term injuries, Smith’s run of bad luck continued while playing a WLeague game for New Jersey Wildcats.
The one-time Arsenal player and England’s top star was taken out in a crude off-the-ball challenge by Western Massachusetts Pioneers defender Cindi Walsh.
Smith, who understandably feels "distraught" at her latest misfortune, was rushed to the Baystate Medical Centre where X-rays confirmed a fracture of the right fibula.
She will miss the rest of the WLeague season and could be to be out of action for the next three months of England’s build-up to Euro 2005.
Back home in New Jersey after having her leg set in a cast, Smith told me in a trans-Atlantic phone call: "I’m distraught at what happened.
"It was a two-footed tackle from behind and I never saw it coming. But when I heard the crack just above my ankle I knew my leg was broken.
"I was so upset when the hospital gave me confirmation of the injury, but the good thing is there’s no ligament damage and I won’t need surgery.
"My leg’s going to be in a cast for six weeks, but after that I’ll be straight back into training and hopefully I’ll be playing again pretty soon."
Smith had been in great form for the Wildcats, scoring eight goals in just eight games as the New Jersey sided topped their League table.
She was due to fly back to England’s for next month’s meeting with Russia at Bristol Rovers’ Memorial Ground, but that is now out of the question.
She will almost certainly also miss internationals that The FA are currently organising during September as England step up their preparations for Euro 2005.
National Coach Hope Powell can only hope that Smith will make a full recovery and do so well ahead of the Championships, which are to be played in England next June.