Foxes keeper Schmeichel has operation on fractured hand
Published 04/11/2016 | 10:56
Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has undergone surgery on the bone he fractured in his hand during the Champions League game at FC Copenhagen, boss Claudio Ranieri has said.
Schmeichel suffered the injury during the first half of Wednesday night's goalless draw in Denmark, but managed to carry on and complete the match, making a couple of crucial late saves to deny Andreas Cornelius and earn his team a valuable point.
The 29-year-old saw a specialist on Leicester's return to England on Thursday and he had an operation to correct the damage that evening.
The initial diagnosis was that Schmeichel would be sidelined for between four and six weeks, but Ranieri did not want to put a timescale on his absence.
"I don't know everything but last night he had an operation and the surgeon said everything is okay. Now it depends on how long. Of course the hands, as for a boxer, are very important," said Ranieri.
"I don't put a deadline on it because every man is different. Maybe two, three, five, six, maybe seven weeks - I don't know.
"On the night he felt something, it was pulsing, and it was unbelievable. Maybe with the adrenaline and concentrating he felt nothing.
"He made a good save and came and punched the ball, but it's unbelievable he didn't feel anything. Kasper wants to play on Sunday! But that is normal."
Losing Schmeichel is a significant blow for Leicester. The Denmark international has been in impressive form this season and has been spoken about as one of the leading goalkeepers in the world.
Ranieri refused to get drawn into that debate, but acknowledged Schmeichel's ability before insisting he had full confidence in Ron-Robert Zieler, who will deputise in the Dane's absence, starting with the champions' game against West Brom at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.
"It is a pity, but that's it," said Ranieri. "What can we do, change the hand? There's nothing we can do, that is the destiny and we have to accept it.
" He is not so happy - it's normal. When you are in fantastic form you hope you don't get an injury. It is difficult to say if Kasper is the best, but for us he is the best - for me he is the best. Kasper is very important for my team.
"But I am very confident with Zieler, so it's okay. Of course Kasper is in very great condition, but Zieler gives me confidence."
Summer signing Zieler has played in the Premier League games against Swansea, Burnley and Manchester United this season as well as the EFL Cup tie against Chelsea.
Those appearances came while Schmeichel was recovering from a minor hernia operation and the German will get another run in the team, starting against West Brom.
Striker Islam Slimani is expected to return to the squad after a thigh injury, while Ranieri hinted at changes to his starting line-up against the Baggies, with the likes of Andy King, Marc Albrighton, Danny Simpson and Shinji Okazaki also vying for recalls.