The Story of Boly’s Hans Krankl: Behind every great Tibia, you will find a formidable Fibula!

willy boly ankle injury
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Let’s start at the end: answer the questions on the lips of those who follow the mighty Wolves or have Willy Boly in their Fantasy Football team:

  1. Will Boly require surgery on his ankle?
  2. Is this a serious injury?
  3. How long will he be out for?
  4. Is he likely to break this bone again?
  5. Will this type of injury affect his future performances for Wolves?

Does he require surgery?

The reason for obtaining a surgical opinion for this type of injury is that it is most likely that the fracture (break) is located very near to Boly’s ankle over a part of the fibula which is called the lateral malleolus. This is the knobbly part on the outside of your ankle.

ankle anatomy

You most probably have injured the ligaments which attach to this part of your ankle when you sprained it playing 5-a-side with your mates at Powerleague or, as in my case, with the Dog and Duck on a Sunday morning. It’s best practice in professional football to cover all management options early on for this type of injury so that it can be decided if surgery is required or not. Surgery is generally indicated if the tibia and fibula aren’t aligned very well, the bone is fractured into many pieces, or all the ligaments have been torn, which, if left unoperated, could lead to poor healing causing instability, poor function of the ankle and possibly a higher risk of future injury.

The Wolves Effect

However, Boly is in the hands of the very experienced and excellent clinician Phil Hayward, so you can all be very assured that no stone will go unturned in making sure that he returns to the frontline as quickly and as safely as possible.

phil hayward

Is this a serious injury?

The fibula is a long flimsy bone with not much substance to it at all (I know a few people like this). It cowers in the shadow of its imposing brother the tibia. And while the tibia is laboured with most of the work when it comes to bearing the weight of Boly’s body as he lunges in a menacing fashion cutting down centre forward after centre forward, his fibula plays a more nuanced role when it comes to the function of his Hans Krankl (ankle).

The Fibula: A Wolf in Sheep’s clothing

The fibula attaches to the tibia close to the knee and also at the ankle. While it doesn’t do much for the knee joint, it is a major player when it comes to the ankle. It allows just enough movement at the ankle joint to be able to run, turn, sprint, kick and change direction explosively which Boly is renowned for. The fibula also restricts motion, not just for the purpose of bringing Boly to a halt after one of his lung-bursting runs into an opponents’ box, but to provide a sense of stability to enable him to do so time and time again. Therefore, although it may not look like much to the eye, the fibula plays a crucial role in the Premier League.


How long will he be out for?

If it’s a simple fracture, and what I mean by simple is that it does not require a surgeon to drive a nail through it to patch up its relationship with the tibia, then the likelihood is that he may be looking at a period of between 6 weeks (optimistic) and 12 weeks (I’m playing it safe here). However, and please trust me on this one, nothing is ever “Simples” when it comes to the Meerkat ankle!!!

The Rehab Journey

I’ve detailed the task-based criteria rehab journey that he is likely to go through in a piece I wrote recently about Paul Pogba’s ankle injury. You can check it out here… 

What Has Ben got to say?

Data on ankle injuries from Ben Dinnery at Premier Injuries shows us that injuries to the ankle are very prevalent, costly but surprisingly, on average don’t cause significant time loss; however, I suspect Boly will be out for a lot longer than 25 days!!

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The weight of a club on one man’s Fibula

Boly’s status at the club is very high. He is a defensive lynchpin. I don’t know if you could liken Boly to either the tibia or the fibula, such is his importance to Wolves, and I only mention this as it will organically place a lot of pressure, media attention and expectations on the player and the medical staff to return to war as quickly as possible. His dominance in the air and ferociousness in the tackle may influence the risk the club, and the player, are prepared to take. Let’s say his proposed return to play date is the end of December and Wolves lose a key member of their defence two weeks prior. What would you do? Would you wait another week, or would you play him early?

Are you prepared to risk everything for the badge?

It comes down to attitude towards risk and Boly’s approach to risk (more importantly, for that matter). Does he value the positioning of Wolves in the league table more than he does his own fibula? What would you do if you were Boly? Would you take the risk of returning too early and increase your chances of suffering a recurrence, which in turn, could lead to surgery, a prolonged absence from the team and possibly miss your train ticket to the Europa League final? It’s a hell of a lot of pressure on one man’s shoulders, but even more pressure on a not yet healed fibula!!! I’ll let you mull that one over for yourself. As I said, nothing is “simples” when it comes to the ankle.

Hope you enjoyed the read guys

Johnny Wilson

Fantasy Football Physio Columnist

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