Chelsea finished out the preseason USA Tour with a last-minute equalizer against Borussia Dortmund last night in Chicago, but all eyes and concerns were on Christopher Nkunku, who had to leave the pitch after 20 minutes — 20 excellent minutes, we should add — with an apparent knee injury.
Initially it was unclear if Nkunku had gotten hurt when he got robustly taken out by Mats Hummels ten minutes earlier, or if the horrendous post-Ed-Sheeran-concert pitch at Soldier Field claimed him as its victim, but after the game head coach Mauricio Pochettino confirmed that it was the former indeed, more so than the latter.
“The doctors are checking him and I hope it is not a big issue. He fell in the action which was maybe a penalty and he feels something in his knee but we hope it is nothing big. We hope he can be back quickly with the team. We need a few days to assess him.
“[The pitch was] not perfect because they are using it for different sports and that is sometimes the risk of the tour, yes. But I think it was a bit unlucky in the situation but we cannot complain about the pitch and to blame the pitch for why he suffered the injury. For me it was bad luck.”
-Mauricio Pochettino; source: Evening Standard
In a way — and I’m just trying to find a positive — this happening as a result of contact is slightly better than a no-contact alternative. A no-contact injury would undoubtedly mean a ligament; this way there is a chance that it’s just a bruise or a contusion. Of course, I tore my ACL as a result of a tackle, but that also means that I’m predisposed to thinking the worst about every knee problem. Here’s hoping that I’m very wrong.
Nkunku was seen hobbling around towards the end of the game, which is certainly better than being on crutches, but is not something to definitively disprove a major issue.