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You can wrap them in cotton wool, but sometimes there is simply nothing you can do to stop some of the most talented athletes breaking down injured on the eve of a World Cup, or Olympic Games.
Following Michael Owen's latest injury for Manchester United and pace bowler Ryan Sidebottom's setback for England, skysports.com look at 10 of the most injury-jinxed sportsmen of all time.
Dubbed 'sicknote' during a career plagued by more injuries than you could make up, former England midfielder Anderton comfortably makes his way into the skysports.com top ten. Yet, despite the Achilles, knee, calf, groin, back, hamstring and many more setbacks he sustained during his career, Anderton still managed 30 caps for England and 471 Football League appearances in an 18-year career.
Just how successful England would have been had their superstar fly-half stayed injury-free is up for debate, however there is no debating how cruel injuries have been on Wilkinson. His first setback occurred in 2002 when ankle ligament damage prematurely ended his season. An ongoing shoulder problem limited his appearances over the next two years, however he still managed to inspire England to World Cup glory in 2003. A haematoma in his arm forced Wilkinson to step down as England captain in 2004 and his torrid luck continued when he damaged a knee ligament, medial ligament and shoulder before having operations on his appendix and groin. A torn adductor muscle, further knee troubles, kidney damage, a twisted ankle, shoulder surgery and a dislocated knee all followed...
I guess rugby players know what they are letting themselves in for when they sign up for the sport, however even the most pessimistic of doctors could not have foreseen Farrell's injury hell. After a near injury-free rugby league career, Farrell's switch of codes in 2005 prompted the most unbelievable string of injury woe. His first season of union for Saracens was completely wiped out after surgery on his foot and successive back injuries, including a prolapsed disc after a car accident. He also dislocated a thumb and ruptured his AC joint in his shoulder before calling time on his playing career in 2009.
After announcing himself to the world with a stunning solo goal against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup finals, Owen then found his still sparkling career blighted by a number of injury setbacks. A hamstring injury in 1999 saw him return to action without the devastating burst of pace which made him such a menace to rival defenders. However, it wasn't until Owen made the move to Newcastle United that his injury hell really began to worsen. A broken metatarsal in 2005 saw him ruled out for several months before heartache struck at the 2006 World Cup when he was stretchered out of England's group game with Sweden with a ruptured cruciate knee ligament. Thigh, groin and even mumps setbacks followed and Owen recently hobbled out of Manchester United's Carling Cup victory over Aston Villa minutes after scoring.
A very good England cricketer could well have been a great England cricketer had Flintoff not suffered a multitude of injury setbacks over the course of his career. The agony began in 1999 when 'Freddy' broke his foot during a Test match against South Africa in Cape Town. From then on, back, hernia, shoulder, ankle, hip, side and knee injuries all plagued the larger than life Lancastrian, who was forced to prematurely hang up his boots during the victorious 2009 Ashes series.
British decathlete Dean Macey finished his career with a Commonwealth gold medal, world championship silver and bronze and two fourth-placed finishes at the Olympics - but what could he have achieved had injury not plagued him throughout his career? His breakthrough came in 1999 in Seville when he memorably clinched his silver at the worlds, but injury then began to hamper his progress in the sport and his fourth at the Sydney Olympics came on the back of a year out of competition. He forced his way on to the podium at the worlds again in Edmonton in 2001 as he took bronze, but further ailments meant he had to watch the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester from the sidelines. Another fourth-placed Olympic finish arrived in Athens, but was sandwiched between more months of injury before Macey's moment of glory came, winning gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne - although he had to defy pain in the competition to do so. Eventually he was forced to call time on his career after his attempt to qualify for a third Olympics ended in narrow failure - injury inevitably playing its part once again, Macey explaining afterwards: "I gave it my best shot but I tore both my left and right groin and had to carry on with the help of injections. With two events to go I had two legs that didn't work." Among the most serious of his injuries was one to his elbow, which required reconstructive surgery and looking back on his career Macey stated: "My only regret is that I didn't have a shot at the title more often."
Despite having been injury prone in his early years in the majors, Pavano seemed to have proved his worth by becoming an important member of the Florida Marlins' starting rotation in their 2003 World Series triumph. Free agency and a four-year, $39.95 million deal with the New York Yankees followed but, unfortunately, his fitness problems also returned with a vengeance. He spent the majority of 2005-2008, the duration of his big-money contract in the Big Apple, on the disabled list with a variety of ailments. These included - but were not limited to - a right shoulder injury, bruised buttocks, broken ribs (sustained in a car accident) and Tommy John surgery on his elbow. After joining the Cleveland Indians as a free agent at the start of 2009, he made a return to fitness of sorts and, although he was traded to the Minnesota Twins in mid-season, nevertheless stayed healthy enough to compile a 14-12 record.
Since making since his Test match debut for New Zealand in 2001, paceman Bond has only managed to play 18 Tests, taking a staggering 87 wickets at an average of 22.09. Stress-fractures to his feet and back forced him to miss numerous games and tours, including the 2004 series in England. He returned to face Zimbabwe in 2005, only for a knee injury to rule him out for a further nine months. The Canterbury-born bowler quit Test cricket in 2009 but remains a part of the Black Caps' limited-overs set-ups.
A former US amateur champion, big-hitting Kuehne's once-promising career has come to a grinding halt due to chronic back problem. In 2003 - his first full year on the tour, he topped the driving distance stats at 321 yards, usurping John Daly, and two years later he finished in a tie for second place at the John Deere Classic. But, after earning a regular place on the tour, a back injury reared its head in 2006 and he has been able to take part in only three events since.
Dyer has a face that even West Ham fans would struggle to recognise now such has been his trouble with injury in recent times. Dyer overcame a broken leg to enjoy a promising start to his career with hometown club Ipswich and would go on to secure a big-money move to Newcastle. But it was on Tyneside his injury problems really started with the nippy midfielder missing long chunks with a catalogue of ailments including persistent hamstring problems. In 2007 he agreed a move to West Ham but his time at Upton Park has proved disastrous and, after breaking his leg in just his second appearance for the club, he has subsequently made just 18 appearances in three years. Dyer is currently laid low with chronic hamstring problems and the sad fact is the 31-year-old is now looking increasingly unlikely to play again.
jonathan woodgate has to be in the top 10!!! he must have only played about 10 games in the last 10 years hahahahah
Posted 02:36 2nd May 2011
Sebastian Deisler, he was always injued and he was a world class player and damien duff always injured
Posted 20:50 19th May 2010
Jamie Redknapp... Great Player but always injured... prob even more than anderton
Posted 21:40 5th May 2010
what about freddie ljunberg????????
Posted 11:40 9th March 2010
Torress!!!, he an amazing striker when hes on the pitch but hes been on and off. hes injured half the season...
Posted 23:44 5th March 2010
Posted 11:24 4th March 2010
Ledley King comes to mind... without the injuries he would of played a lot more for England
Posted 14:57 3rd March 2010
Posted 13:55 3rd March 2010
Arsene Wenger has had eye problems for almost 15 years now
Posted 11:18 3rd March 2010
Where is Bullard? hes always injured? where is Dean Ashton? Where is David Dunn? There always ill? but i am happy with the list provided
Posted 11:16 3rd March 2010
Because some of the sportsman mentioned above have had reoccuring injury problems for over 10 years. Hargreaves has had real injury concerns since 2008.....Not a decade!!
Posted 10:03 3rd March 2010
Why isn't hagreaves here?
Posted 08:23 3rd March 2010
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