McIlroy refuses to give up Open hope
'Total rupture' of ankle ligaments looks certain to rule defending champion out of St Andrews
The odds are stacked high against him, but Rory McIlroy has refused to rule himself out of next week's British Open despite sustaining what he described as "a total rupture" of his ankle ligaments in a kickabout with friends.
Sources say that there is only a 10 per cent chance of the world No 1 defending his Claret Jug at St Andrews, but that he is prepared to wait until early next week for a final decision.
McIlroy is definitely out of this week's Scottish Open at Gullane but, until the swelling begins to subside, the medics cannot be certain of the severity of the injury. He will undergo further scans as the week progresses.
Golf will pray that the eventual verdict is positive, but there is an overwhelming sense of despondency that the 144th Open will very likely be without one its main protagonists.
McIlroy was playing a friendly game on AstroTurf in Bangor last Saturday evening when he suddenly went over, unchallenged, on his left ankle.
Yesterday, McIlroy revealed the injury via social media, causing shock waves throughout the sport in the process.
Next to a picture of him in an ankle boot, McIlroy wrote on Instagram: "Total rupture of left ATFL (ankle ligament) and associated joint capsule damage in a soccer kickabout with friends on Saturday. Continuing to assess extent of injury and treatment plan day by day. Rehab already started.....Working hard to get back as soon as I can."
The experts are not in complete agreement concerning the recovery time. However, the general rehab timetable indicates that will not only would miss St Andrews, but also the USPGA at Whistling Straits three weeks' later.
Dr James Gladstone, a co-director of sports medicine at Mt Sinai Hospital in New York City, who is acknowledged as a world authority on this type of injury, said he could reappear between 10 days and six weeks.