BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Dundee skipper James McPake will undergo surgery today on his fractured kneecap but has been given the good news that he has not damaged ligaments.
The 31-year-old underwent an MRI scan in Ninewells Hospital in Dundee yesterday to assess the extent of the horrific knee injury he sustained early in Saturday’s 2-1 derby win over Dundee United.
The former Hibernian captain was stretchered off in visible distress after suffering a suspected dislocated kneecap in a full-blooded challenge with John Rankin.
Whilst United players and team-mates tried to comfort their rival before medical staff arrived on the scene, it was clear the defender had sustained a serious injury.
The relief yesterday was that hospital tests indicated there had been no damage done to McPake’s cruciate or surrounding ligaments, allowing surgeons to operate today.
The Northern Ireland cap is still expected to miss the remainder of the season and faces an extensive rehabilitation period following surgery.
A statement on the Dundee website read: “Following the surgery we will have a clearer picture of timescales for rehab.
“We would like to acknowledge the professionalism from both sets of players during the derby match on Saturday who immediately helped when it was clear James was in significant pain.
“James is a vital part of Dundee Football Club and we wish him a speedy recovery.”
Meanwhile, McPake has been offered warms words of encouragement in his latest injury comeback from Scotland internationalist and former Livingston team-mate Robert Snodgrass.
If anyone can sympathise with the stopper and his physical and mental torment since the weekend it is Snodgrass, who spent 16 months on the sidelines with a dislocated kneecap before making his return recently.
It is yet another injury blow for McPake, who has been forced out of action by a broken leg, dislocated shoulder and broken bones in his back in a injury-affected career.
However, Snodgrass, who was a team-mate for four years at Livingston, has backed his friend to come back ‘fitter and stronger’ from his latest setback.
Snodgrass dislocated his kneecap in August 2014 and only made his first-team return with Hull City on December 1, so is fully aware of the hard road ahead for the former Coventry City defender.
“He’s had some bad injuries but he’s always come back,” said 28-year-old Snodgrass.
“James has been through it before when we were at Livingston. He broke his leg and James has got a great mental strength.
“He doesn’t leave a stone unturned, he works so hard off the park and I think that’ll be no different.
“He’ll come back fitter and stronger and I wish him all the best.”
Snodgrass added to the BBC: “He’s such a good pro and good guy and you want to see guys like that playing football.”