Full back and drag flicker Len Aiyappa will not take any further part in the Chennai leg of the Premier Hockey League because of a small muscle tear in his back. He is expected to take part in the Chandigarh leg subject to clearance from the doctors.
Aiyappa, who was representing defending champions Bangalore Lions and had scored four goals for them through his trademark drag flicks, suffered a muscle tear in his back when he fell down during the match against Chennai Veerans on Wednesday.
What the doctors had earlier diagnosed as muscle catch in his back turned out to be a minor muscle tear following an MRI done at the Apollo Hospital in Chennai. He took a second opinion in Bangalore and has been advised total rest for 10 days. His condition will be assessed again after a week.
“It’s only a minor tear and spasm in his back. He has been advised rest for 10 days but he is not able to walk freely. He will be able to do that after a week’s time but at the moment he looks set to miss our next two matches against Chandigarh Dynamos on January 24 and Orissa Steelers on February 1,” Lions’ manager K Krishnamurthy told Hindustan Times over phone from Bangalore.
Krishnamurthy said a final decision would be taken after a checkup after a week’s time. “Our first match in the Chandigarh leg is on February 13, Len will have around a month’s time to get well. We are hopeful he would be able to play in Chandigarh.”
In case, Aiyappa fails to get fit before February 13, the Bangalore Lions will seek a replacement for him. “At this moment it looks he would play in Chandigarh,” said Krishnamurthy.
Meanwhile, Hyderabad Sultans have picked former international Lazarus Barla as replacement for Baljit Singh Chandi, who pulled out due to a hamstring injury. Barla had played for the Sultans in the inaugural PHL in Hyderabad.
Sultans’ manager G Satyanarayana said they picked Barla because of his experience. “He will strengthen the defence and is also a good distributor of the ball,” he said. Barla is expected to reach Chennai by January 16 when the Sultans take on Orissa Steelers as he was already sounded by the Sultans’ management.