Wayne Rooney and the 10 Most Gruesome Injuries in EPL History

Paul MurphyCorrespondent IAugust 25, 2012

Wayne Rooney and the 10 Most Gruesome Injuries in EPL History

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    For a sport that is not exactly renowned for the "hardness" of its players, football has a nasty habit of being the scene of some gruesome sporting injuries.

    The nature of the sport with its fast pace and quick lower-limb movements lends itself to lots of leg breaks and dislocations.

    Football may not be as violent as the UFC or as physical as rugby, but not many sports can match up to some of the injuries suffered on a football field.

Wayne Rooney vs. Fulham 2012

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    Let's kick things off with the most recent injury on the list, the one picked up by Wayne Rooney on Saturday afternoon against Fulham.

    In the 92nd minute of an enthralling affair at Old Trafford, Rooney threw himself in front of Hugo Rodallega's attempted shot.

    Rooney jumped up immediately holding his right knee in obvious discomfort. My immediate reaction was that he had damaged his ligaments.

    On closer inspection, the injury was much less serious, but it was not for the faint-hearted.

    After his shot was blocked, Rodellega's follow-through had ripped a massive gash into Rooney's thigh.

    While this won't be the most serious injury on the list, the amount of flesh on show may go unmatched.

Petr Cech vs. Reading 2006

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    On first inspection there didn't seem to be much wrong when Petr Cech stayed down after Stephen Hunt made contact with him chasing a through-ball.

    Goalkeepers, after all, are a tough bunch and there didn't appear to be much contact. Even the commentators were playing down the injury.

    Cech was unable to continue, but there no major fears for his safety.

    Closer inspection by a doctor after the game revealed he had suffered a depressed skull fracture and would require surgery.

    It was revealed that had he returned to action, another hit could have been fatal.

    In a bizarre twist, his replacement that day was also knocked unconscious while challenging a Reading player.

    One good thing to come out of the incident was a complete overhaul of the medical services available on match day, which played a huge role in saving Fabrice Muamba's life last season.

Gary Mabbutt vs. Wimbeldon 1993

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    Football was a much more physical sport at the dawn of the Premier League era. Battering-ram forwards were much more prevalent than the twinkle-toed strikers we have today.

    Perhaps the most brutal battering ram in football at the time was John Fashanu. He was more famous for his ability with his elbows than his ability with his feet.

    Many a defender endured a torrid 90 minutes of action against Fashanu, but none more so than Gary Mabbutt.

    Mabbutt was one of the nicest men in football and well respected for the manner in which he had embraced suffering diabetes and his openness in discussing it.

    Fashanu gave that little thought, though, before leaving him with a cheekbone fractured in four places, and an eye socket fractured in three.

    Mabbutt would spend almost a year on the sidelines recovering while Fashanu walked away scott-free.

Jimmy Bullard vs. Newcastle 2006

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    The story of Jimmy Bullard is a modern-day fairy tale. After being released by his childhood club West Ham, he joined Wigan in League 2 by way of Peterborough.

    He would be a key player as the club climbed its way through the Football League before reaching the Premiership in 2005.

    His humour endeared him to fans nationwide and he played the game with a passion that had to be admired.

    Sadly, just one month into his Fulham career he suffered a devastating dislocation of his knee in a challenge with Scott Parker.

    Such was the severity of the injury that Fulham striker Collins John vomited and Scott Parker asked to be substituted.

    It would be 16 months before he kicked a ball in anger again.

Eduardo vs. Birmingham 2008

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    Yes that is bone protruding through Eduardo's sock.

    So enraged was Arsene Wenger by this tackle that he said Martin Taylor should never be allowed to play football again.

    He would later retract that statement, but there is no denying that this is among the worst injuries ever seen on a football field.

    The incident was so severe that Sky Sports made the immediate decision not to broadcast any replays of the incident.

    Both Cesc Fabregas and Alexander Hleb were visibly disturbed by what they saw, but thankfully teammate Giberto Silva was able to act as translator for the injured Croat and medical staff.

    Eduardo would make a full recovery and return to action, though some would say he was never the same player again.

Djibril Cisse vs. Blackburn 2004

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    One has to feel for Djibril Cisse. He has suffered the ignominy of breaking his leg twice in horrific circumstances.

    The first time came just a few months into his career as a Liverpool player. 

    He had beaten Jay McEveley for pace and was speeding into the box when his his left leg seemed to get stuck in the turf.

    Unable to halt his own progress, McEveley kicked into Cisse's leg. As the two fell to the ground Cisse's lower leg was seen to be flailing around, seemingly disconnected from the rest of his body.

    Cisse made a miraculous recovery and returned just six months later.

    Just a year later, however, still struggling to regain top form, he would suffer another horrific break, proving that sometimes lightning does strike twice.

Aaron Ramsey vs. Stoke 2010

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    Less than two years after the Eduardo incident, Arsenal were left ruing the brutality of Premier League football when teenage sensation Ramsey had his leg shattered in a horrific challenge.

    This incident still gets Arsenal fans hot and bothered, while Ramsey is only just recovering his form and confidence.

    There was no malice in it but it was horribly timed, and Ramsey's leg can be seen to be bent out of shape as he screams in agony.

    Ryan Shawcross, the perpetrator, was hounded for the tackle but is visibly distraught at the damage he caused, as he too left the field in a flood of tears.

    Ramsey would take over a year to return to first-team action for Arsenal.

Luc Nilis vs. Ipswich 2000

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    This image haunted me as a child. Legs are simply not made to bend in that fashion.

    One half of the deadly PSV strike-force of the late '90s, with Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Nilis had scored 110 goals in 164 games for the club.

    Romario would once call him his best partner ever and much was expected of him when he signed for Aston Villa in the summer of 2000, especially after a sensational goal on his debut.

    However his career for the Villians lasted less than 3 games, after he broke his shin in horrific circumstances.

    Racing to meet a high ball into the box, he came off second best in a challenge with Richard Wright.

    When the smoke cleared, Nilis had broken his leg in two places and would never play football again.

Alan Smith vs. Liverpool 2006

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    Liverpool vs. Manchester United has long been one of the fiercest derbies in English football. Players put bodies on the line in search of victory.

    It should come as no surprise then that Smith would suffer this horrific injury in a hotly contested FA Cup tie.

    Charging down a John Arne Riise shot Smith's left leg got caught in the turf as his body weight collapsed on top of it.

    In a show of unity Liverpool's medics ran onto the pitch to assist the United staff deal with Smith's broken leg and dislocated ankle.

    Sadly, despite being clapped off the pitch by most Liverpool fans, a small minority would attack the ambulance taking him to hospital.

David Busst vs. Man Utd 1996

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    This is the granddaddy of all gruesome football injuries and the one that is always referenced when a serious injury occurs.

    Two minutes into the Premier League encounter between Coventry and Manchester United, David Busst charged into the United box to meet a corner.

    Instead of meeting the ball, he found himself caught between Brian McClair and Denis Irwin converging from both sides.

    His right leg was broken and bent almost 90 degrees out of position by the contact.

    As he lay in agony, bone was clearly visible through his sock and blood was pouring out of the wound.

    Such was the damage caused that it took the groundsmen 12 minutes to clear the blood from the goal-mouth.

    Peter Schmeichel, who saw and heard the incident from close quarters, says he suffered PTSD from the incident and was one of several United players who received counselling. 

    Busst never recovered, and after 22 operations, he was forced to retire from the game.

Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Everyone 2003-2009

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    After all that brutality, I feel the need to end things on a lighter note: with Ronaldo being taken down by the invisible sniper in the crowd.

    For all the skill and beauty on show in the Premier League on a weekly basis, we have seen some disturbing, sickening and horrific tackles end careers.

    Accidents happen when a game is played with the pace and passion on show in the EPL.

    Remember that the next time you throw yourself into the tackle.