Football Features

Will Kevin De Bruyne miss Euro 2020? The Belgium midfielder’s facial injury and potential return date

By Dr Rajpal Brar

Published: 15:39, 3 June 2021

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is a doubt for the start of Belgium’s Euro 2020 campaign after suffering a facial injury in the club’s Champions League final defeat against Chelsea on Saturday.

De Bruyne had to be replaced by Gabriel Jesus in the 60th minute in Porto after taking hard contact from Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rudiger. The midfield maestro was clearly in pain, and there was already visible swelling along his face when examined on the pitch by Man City’s training staff, particularly under his left eye and cheek.

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After the match, De Bruyne was taken to hospital for further evaluation and later provided an update on Twitter with the final diagnosis: acute nose bone fracture and left orbital fracture.

“Acute” simply means it happened during a specific moment. For example, “chronic” or “insidious” would mean an injury has been occurring for an extended amount of time or, developed over a certain amount of time, while the nasal bone and orbital fracture means he suffered fractures to his nose and eye socket. De Bruyne’s sister also provided additional details on the midfielder suffering a concussion (mild traumatic brain injury/mTBI) as well.

With the injuries now confirmed, the question becomes – how long will De Bruyne be out and does this impact his availability for Euro 2020 which starts in just over a week’s time?

The return timeline is dependent on the severity of the injury and we have some good indicators of that.

Firstly, De Bruyne wasn’t required to stay in hospital for extended observation which may indicate mild fracture severity and mild concussion symptoms as well (although these symptoms can evolve in the days following, it’s not simply about how you feel in the hours following a concussion).

Secondly, Belgium manager Roberto Martinez said the midfielder will not need surgery for the fractures. Surgery would have eliminated any chance De Bruyne has of making the tournament.

With mild facial fractures, the typical return timeline is around three weeks, which means De Bruyne would miss the first 10 days or so of the tournament, provided there are no further complications from the fractures or his concussion recovery.

That being said, these are still sensitive injuries so when De Bruyne does get back he will surely wear facial protection and will have to overcome some of the mental challenges that come along with returning to a sport that has constant risk to the head and face.

Dr Rajpal Brar, DPT, is a physiotherapist, movement expert, fitness trainer, and mindfulness coach. He runs the LA-based wellness and athletic development/performance clinic 3CB Performance, and you can subscribe to his Youtube channel (which posts analyses of Lionel Messi and more) by going here.