KIERAN Richardson’s season-ending injury will not affect his chances of being fully fit for the start of next season.
The club confirmed yesterday that the former Manchester United and England midfielder had suffered a stress fracture of his left fibula which would rule him out of the remaining three matches of the season.
But the leg break is of the most moderate kind and will not prevent him from returning for pre-season training in July.
The 26-year-old has been sidelined since limping off in Sunderland’s home game against West Brom in early April with what was initially thought to be a calf injury.
But scans have subsequently shown a hairline fracture of the left fibula – one of the two bones in the lower leg.
Manager Steve Bruce, right, explained: “We X-rayed him after the West Brom game and then carried out scans in the days immediately afterwards – all of which showed nothing more than a badly bruised bone.
“What I’ve been told by the medical people now, though, is that stress fractures can take up to 10 days to three weeks to appear.
“Consequently, we rescanned him on Thursday, when we detected that, unfortunately, the boy has got a stress fracture of the leg and will miss the rest of the season.”
Sunderland, though, expect no long-term damage to the gifted utility player.
Bruce told the Echo: “It’s a small fracture and should not take too long to heal.
“It’s a disappointment to lose him for the rest of the season, but that’s almost par for the course on the injury front for us at the moment.
“And if there is a positive to the situation, it’s that Kieran can have a proper break and rest, look to recharge himself and come back firing on all cylinders next season.”