The recovery Andy Murray faces to be fit for Wimbledon

Andy Murray screams in pain after hurting his left ankle during his match against Tomas Machac in the Miami Open
Andy Murray suffered what looks like a straightforward inversion sprain to Dr Daniel Fong - Getty Images/Al Bello

Surgery would be a last resort for Andy Murray after he ruptured ankle ligaments in Miami, according to an expert in sports medicine.

In an Instagram post released on Monday night, Murray revealed that he was heading home to consult a specialist about the damage sustained to his anterior talo-fibular ligament (ATFL) and the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL).

That meeting – which might need to wait until the swelling has reduced somewhat – will have serious repercussions for Murray’s chances of playing in Wimbledon this summer, because an operation would take him out for far longer than simple rest and rehab.

“The time of recovery depends on the treatment,” said Dr Daniel Fong, reader in sports medicine and biomechanics at Loughborough University. “It could be a few months for surgical reconstruction of the ligaments, or a few weeks for conservative treatments such as bracing, taping and exercise.”

After rewatching the video from Miami, where Murray was deep in a third set against Tomas Machac when he suffered the injury, Dr Fong diagnosed a straightforward inversion sprain of the left foot. This happens when the ankle rolls outwards and the foot turns over, so that the sole points inwards towards the opposite foot.

Because the ATFL and CFL run down the outside of the ankle, this stretches them beyond their ability to cope, and a rupture results.

At this stage, though, the recovery process seems unlikely to rule Murray out of his proposed grand finale at Wimbledon this summer.

“The ankle joint might have increased mechanical instability,” said Dr Fong, “but this could be compensated by strengthening the muscle-tendon unit or the joint proprioception, so usually conservative treatments will be prescribed unless it failed to help the athlete to regain joint stability.

“Although surgical reconstruction may help regain joint stability and reduce the chance to get other consequences such as cartilage wearing and thus osteoarthritis, many athletes may only consider it as a last option.”

Immediately after the match, Murray sounded ready to call time on his career. “I am looking forward to the end now,” he said. “Give my best the next few months and get to be at home with my family.”

But once the diagnosis had arrived, a familiar combative tone resurfaced in his Instagram post.

“Goes without saying this is a tough one to take,” Murray said, “and I’ll be out for an extended period. But I’ll be back with one hip and no ankle ligaments when the time is right.”

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