Leo McLoone must go under the knife

Donegal centre-back Leo McLoone is due to undergo surgery tomorrow in a Dublin hospital on a leg injury that could see him miss the remainder of the 2011 season.

Donegal centre-back Leo McLoone is due to undergo surgery tomorrow in a Dublin hospital on a leg injury that could see him miss the remainder of the 2011 season.

McLoone, who is one the county’s leading performers this season so far, is due to undergo the surgery in the Beacon Hospital on a broken ankle suffered in a club game at the weekend.

The injury is a big major blow to the player himself and the Naomh Conaill clubman is one of the county’s finest young footballers to emerge in recent times. It is also major setback to Donegal’s league and championships ambitions.

The 21-year-old is set to miss the remainder of the National Football League campaign and is also certain to also miss Donegal’s Ulster Championship preliminary round meeting with Antrim in just over six weeks away on the May 15. And even at this stage, given the seriousness of the injury, it could be well into the summer before he is fit to resume and may in fact have to sit out the entire season.

“The ankle is broken and to make matters worse and to compound the injury he also dislocated the ankle,” Donegal manager Jim McGuinness told the Donegal Democrat/ Peoples Press.

“He is due to undergo surgery in Dublin on Wednesday and will be in a cast for eight weeks and then it will be a matter of doing rehab them,” added McGuinness.

“It is a big blow to Leo himself and obviously it is also a blow to us because he was possibly one of our best players in both the Dr McKenna Cup and the league to date. But the most important thing now is that he receives the best of treatment and attention and we do everything to insure that he is looked after and get the best rehab possible.”

“Realistically, he is going to be out for the next three to four months at best and that is if everything goes well for him. But we will not be rushing him as the player and his career is the most important thing.”

McLoone picked up the injury in the closing minutes of Sunday’s Senior Gaeltacht final meeting of Naomh Conaill and Termon in Downings.

It is understood he suffered the injury in open play when he went to chip up the ball and he went over awkwardly on his ankle.