Brendan Rodgers said Leicester were “devastated” for Wesley Fofana as the club awaited further information regarding the “horrendous” injury the defender sustained on Wednesday evening.
Fofana was carried off on a stretcher in the second half of the friendly win over Villarreal at the King Power Stadium following a challenge from Fer Nino, and subsequently revealed on social media that he had suffered a fractured fibula.
Foxes boss Rodgers, speaking on Thursday afternoon at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s Community Shield clash with Manchester City, said: “It was a horrendous injury for us and we are obviously devastated for him, and for everyone because he’s a top-class young player. He’s going to be a huge loss for us.
“Our medical team were fantastic on the night, as soon as he got in our trauma doctor was able to put his ankle back in place, and then he got off to the hospital and our staff along with the people in the hospital really looked after him.
“He has another scan today, because the ankle was so swollen, so we had to leave it overnight. (That scan) will give us probably a clearer indication of how long he’s going to be out. But of course it was a horrible injury for him and we were all thinking of him last night.”
Rodgers also described Nino’s tackle as “horrendous”, and said that “straight away Unai (Emery, the Villarreal coach) apologised, and afterwards there was an apology.”
Additionally, there was an apology from Nino in a message on Instagram, which said: “I am writing to publicly apologise, having already done so privately with him, to Wesley Fofana for what happened last night. At no time was it my intention to harm him, as unfortunately happened. I sincerely hope that he has a speedy recovery and can return to the pitch as soon as possible.”
Rodgers, who said he “wasn’t overly happy” with how the game was officiated, added of Fofana: “I got a video from him last night in the hospital and he was smiling and happy. In our conversations, he’s ready to come back stronger.
“He’s a very tough boy. Mentally and physically he’s very strong. So I’ve got absolutely no doubt he’ll be back a stronger player for it. I’m pretty sure he’ll be back a better player.”
Leicester also have Fofana’s fellow centre-back Jonny Evans (foot) sidelined, and when asked about needing to strengthen in that position, Rodgers said: “We’re definitely light in the area. It’s something we’ll have to look at for sure. There are certainly people that are identified. The recruitment team have got a small list of players we would maybe look at. But we’ll see what happens.”
Rodgers was also asked if midfielder James Maddison, who has been linked with Arsenal, will be staying at Leicester.
And the Northern Irishman said: “I believe so. I haven’t been told anything to say that he wouldn’t be.
“He’s happy in training, he’s working very hard. He’s just recently become a father, so responsibility off the pitch as well.
“Clearly there’s gossip and speculation that goes around, especially at this time of the year. But James is a very important member of our squad here.”
Questioned further about the England international, Rodgers said: “It’s gossip and speculation, so you can’t get too emotional with all of that. He’ll understand it’s the nature of this time of the season.
“There’s lots of stories going around. But I know he’s very happy here and wants to be here. I haven’t spoken to him on it. I don’t need to speak around gossip and speculation.
“If anything ever comes to the club, Jon Rudkin (Leicester’s director of football) will tell me straight away and I will deal with it then, but there’s been nothing that’s come my way.
“I tend to not worry about it. I don’t lose sleep over the gossip and speculation. As far as I’m concerned, we haven’t had anything for James.”
Rodgers also said regarding Evans’ injury that “at the moment we’re looking at maybe after the international break”.