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Julian Draxler’s grotesque heel won’t let him play for Germany this week

Doctor looks at an injury of Schalke 04's Draxler during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match against Hamburg SV in Gelsenkirchen

A doctor looks at an injury of Schalke 04’s Julian Draxler (L) during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match against Hamburg SV in Gelsenkirchen August 11, 2013. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT SOCCER HEALTH) DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050


Schalke 04’s 19-year-old star Julian Draxler was set to join the German national team for Wednesday’s friendly against Paraguay. Instead, the attacking midfielder will spend this week trying to accelerate skin growth after an early challenge in Sunday’s game with Hamburg replaced his left ankle with this medical school experiment:


Sorry I didn’t warn you sooner, but there’s really no way to once you’re here. The page is going to load, you’re going to see the picture (tweeted by @riedel_david after the match), so any kind of parental guidance message I put above the image will only over my backside. Besides, did see the word “grotesque” in the headline, right? Given the range of possibility that implied, you’re getting off light.

Draxler started Schalke’s Bundesliga opener Sunday in Gelsenkirchen and set up Klass-Jan Huntelaar’s opening goal, but a challenge from behind near the 20-minute mark by Hmaburg midfielder Tolgay Arslan caused the injury. Attempting to play the ball as Draxler dribbled across the center line, Arslan’s left foot came down the back of Draxler’s leg, dragging his studs from calf to angle.

Or, put another way, here’s how Reuters understatedly described the injury while announcing Draxler’s Germany withdrawal:

The 19-year-old sustained a heel injury and a cut in their 3-3 draw against Hamburg SV on Sunday as Schalke kicked off their Bundesliga season.

I would have gone with “a cut resulting in a small part of his heel being lost,” but their description is probably more accurate.

Draxler initially tried walk the injury off, unaware a gash had been opened up beneath his sock. Within minutes, the pain (or perhaps loss of blood) must have got to him. Leon Goretzka was brought on to take his place.

By that time, Schalke were down 2-1, though the Blues eventually rebounded to salvage a 3-3 result. Jens Keller’s team travels to Wolfsburg this weekend, with Draxler’s status uncertain.

Here are full highlights of Draxler’s short day. Fast forward to 1:04 to see a good angle on how the injury occurred: