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Ramires Injury Update: Midfielder Out With Suspected MCL Problem

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We've got some news regarding Ramires from Andre Villas-Boas and it's not particularly good. The Brazilian midfielder, who's been one of Chelsea's best players in this campaign, picked up a problem during one of Queens Park Rangers' rare forays forward during the FA Cup match at Loftus Road earlier today, charging down a Clint Hill shot and landing very awkwardly.

It looked like one of those injuries where you expect a player to bounce straight back up and keep playing, but Ramires, obviously in pain, stayed down for treatment and was eventually stretchered off the pitch. Andre Villas-Boas has now revealed that the midfielder's suffered an medial ligament (MCL) injury, although the severity is as yet unknown - Ramires will be going in for a scan as soon as the swelling's gone down.

So what can we expect from an MCL problem? The answer is that it depends. Here's the cliffnotes on MCL injuries:

The most common symptom following an MCL injury is pain directly over the ligament. Swelling over the torn ligament may appear, and bruising and generalized joint swelling are common 1 to 2 days after the injury. In more severe injuries, patients may complain that the knee feels unstable, or feel as though their knee may 'give out' or buckle.

Symptoms of a MCL injury tend to correlate with the extent of the injury. MCL injuries are usually graded on a scale of I to III.

  • Grade I MCL Tear
    This is an incomplete tear of the MCL. The tendon is still in continuity, and the symptoms are usually minimal. Patients usually complain of pain with pressure on the MCL, and may be able to return to their sport very quickly. Most athletes miss 1-2 weeks of play.
  • Grade II MCL Tear
    Grade II injuries are also considered incomplete tears of the MCL. These patients may complain of instability when attempting to cut or pivot. The pain and swelling is more significant, and usually a period of 3-4 weeks of rest is necessary.
  • Grade III MCL Tear
    A grade III injury is a complete tear of the MCL. Patients have significant pain and swelling, and often have difficulty bending the knee. Instability, or giving out, is a common finding with grade III MCL tears. A knee brace or a knee immobilizer is usually needed for comfort, and healing may take 6 weeks or longer.

With Chelsea looking at a very difficult month - we have Manchester United at home, Swansea City away, Everton away and Napoli away scheduled for February, we can ill afford to lose Ramires for a sustained period of time. It looks like he's at the very least out for Swansea in midweek and a major doubt against United even should this just out to be 'just' a Grade I problem, and I don't really want to think about what will happen if it's worse. Cripes.

Michael Essien really couldn't have picked a better time to get fully fit, but it sure would have been nice to have all of our players healthy at once. Get well soon, Ramires!

PS: Some of you are asking whether this makes Chelsea more likely to buy a midfielder before the end of the window. Obviously, I don't know for sure, but if the injury is severe the Blues are likely going to be on the lookout for reinforcements.

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