HEROIC skipper Nigel Boogaard will miss the Newcastle Jets’ long-awaited return to the A-League finals, after the club confirmed on Tuesday he had fractured his left leg.
Scans revealed a compression fracture in Boogaard’s tibia and a torn calf.
The injury occurred in the 80th minute of the Jets’ spirited 2-1 win over league-leaders Sydney FC on Saturday at McDonald Jones Stadium when Boogaard landed awkwardly and hyper-extended his knee.
Boogaard walked off the ground, leading to hopes that the central defender had simply jarred his knee.
However, the prognosis quickly worsened. The injury is expected to sideline Boogaard for at least two months, placing him in grave doubt of returning this season.
“Following consultation with a specialist yesterday, we can confirm Nigel’s knee remains ligamentously stable which is the best case scenario in this instance,” Jets physiotherapist Justin Dougherty said.
“This will allow us to begin rehabilitation immediately, but Nigel will be looking at a recovery time from somewhere between six to 10 weeks – which will be dependent on a number of other factors.”
Boogaard’s injury has only compounded the loss of leading goalscorer Andrew Nabbout, who officially joined Japanese club Urawa Reds following the win over the Sky Blues.
Senior striker, Irishman Roy O’Donovan, was also slapped with a two-match ban on Monday night for his controversial charge of assault on Sydney FC defender Jordy Buijs.
The club is potentially challenging the severity of the ban.
The Jets have five matches remaining this season before their first A-League finals campaign in eight years.
If the Jets are successful in the finals, Boogaard’s best hope of returning to the field could be the grand final scheduled for May 6.
Jets coach Ernie Merrick is holding out hope that Boogaard can make a swift recovery.
“Nigel will be doing his upmost during the recovery and rehabilitation process,” Merrick said.
“He’s a tough character and an absolute professional when it comes to looking after his body, he’s not one to make a song and dance about it, but Nigel goes through a great deal to get himself on the park in top condition week to week.
“In saying that, he will be hard-pressed to get back to full fitness before finals which is disappointing for Nigel given the way he’s played all season.
“No doubt it’s a big loss for us, he’s a leader on and off the pitch but I believe we’ve got guys that can step in and do a job which we’ve seen right across the season.”