Moved Hatters boss John Still confirmed a break to the tibia and fibula of midfielder Jonathan Smith’s right leg at today’s press conference, writes Mark Wood.
He suffered the horrific injury in yesterday 2-1 victory at Barnet as Jon Nurse was dismissed for his terrible late tackle.
Still revealed it would likely have to be ‘plated and pinned’ and it was far too early for any future prognosis on how long it would take him to recover.
He said: “It’s the two bones, tibia and fibula. It’s both bones and I think it will be pinned and plated.”
Still revealed he knew instantly it must have been a break, as he continued: “I knew it was a break because I heard it. I think everyone by us heard it, I think their players heard it.
“I think the reaction - it was a strange reaction because all of our players were round it and all of theirs.
“But it wasn’t like players fighting over it. You know sometimes you get a reaction and start fighting over it, everyone knew that something serious had happened to the player and I think that’s why it wasn’t a pushing and shoving match, everyone knew what the incident was.”
Still was not prepared for the emotions the incident stirred in him though and admitted it left him with an ‘eerie’ feeling.
“It was a funny situation,” he said. “When you’ve been involved in the game as long as I’ve been you’ve sort of seen most things.
“I’ve not been close to an incident of that nature to see it and hear it.
“It was a bit eerie, I can’t explain really. Even how I was at half time and after the game, I found it really, really strange and really difficult.”
And while he was pleased his side had been able to see out victory On the day, the result paled into insignificance alongside Smith’s injury.
Still now wants his remaining players to do Smith proud on the pitch, as he said: “The football is massively important, even for Jonathan Smith it’s massively important, but at that particular time the most important thing was his welfare.
“Fortunately he’s having the operation this morning. The incident has been and gone.
“We as a team can only support him 100 per cent, as we will do.
“We are a really tight-knit group of players, and I think that what we’ve got to do now, we’ve got to represent Jonathan Smith on the football pitch.”
The whole incident was further complicated by the farce surrounding the sending off of the tackler.
Originally shown just a yellow card, referee Robert Whitton eventually made the right decision to send him off after consulting with his assistants.
And Still was glad he’d eventually made the correct decision and revealed that former player Nurse had taken responsibility for his actions.
He said: “Obviously the situation surrounding it by the officials probably complicated it a little bit.
“I’m not here to say if the referee’s right or wrong to send the player off, that’s not my job.
“I saw the incident, it was a late challenge, worthy of a sending off.
“Now the referee brandished a yellow card, probably not 100 per cent sure himself, but having a consultation after the card with the other officials he deemed it quite right that it was a sending off.
“And if I look at it, if the referee has given a card that’s wrong, it doesn’t make the incident any different.
“The incident for everyone concerned was a red card. Now we’re talking about a player that played for me for a long time, who is one of the nicest players that I’ve ever had playing for us, he really is.
“Jon made an error of going in for a tackle he couldn’t win.
“I know that he’s not got a malicious bone in his body, I wish no harm to Jon Nurse, it was a foul.
“I’ve spoken to Jonand he knows that it was a foul, he knows that it was a late challenge and he knows it was a sending off, he has no doubt about that.
“But he’s adamant there was no malice in it and knowing Jon I can’t see malice in it.
“But I just think the whole incident if you like, had a reflection on the rest of the game.”
He also confirmed he is yet to speak to popular midfielder Smith, but is hoping that he and the whole of the Hatters squad will be able to visit him in hospital next week.
Still added: “No, I’ve been told not to (contact him). I came in and said to Simon (Parsell) today how I want to ring him and text him, but I didn’t know how.
“But he said Smudger’s said really he wants to get the operation done, he wants to thank everyone for their wishes and everything.
“He just needs to get the operation done so he knows what’s what, knows how it is and would probably be in a better frame of mind to do it.
“But as soon as we can visit, whenever it can be, we shall visit. I’m actually trying to arrange something as we speak about, it won’t be possible, but I’d like it to be possible that the whole squad goes to see him.
“But that’s what I’m going to try and find out when we can. Hopefully one afternoon next week we’ll all be able to visit, we’ll have to try and arrange something with the hospital.
“But at the moment, I don’t know too much of the situation so will have to wait and see.”