Wigan Athletic star Shaun MacDonald has cleared Reading’s George Evans of any blame for the horror challenge at the weekend that left him with a double leg break.
The Wales international midfielder was left in a heap after just 10 minutes at the Madejski Stadium, and received almost 10 minutes of treatment – including oxygen – before being carted off to hospital.
The challenge incensed the Latics players, many of whom surrounded referee Tim Robinson, with team-mate Sam Morsy – watching on fron the stands tweeted: “Clear red card!!! Disgrace”.
Robinson elected to brandish only a yellow card, with Reading going on to win the game 1-0 – that cemented their own position in the play-offs and consigned Latics to relegation.
But as MacDonald prepares to embark on the long road back to full fitness – a lay-off interim boss Graham Barrow feels could last well into 2018 – he has graciously absolved Evans of any blame.
And he sporting urged the Royals to go on and win promotion to the Premier League.
“To each and every one of you, thank you so much for your kind and positive messages of support,” MacDonald posted on his own Instagram page.
“Massive thanks to all the treatment staff, both at Wigan and Reading, for dealing with the situation so well, and to all the players at both sets of clubs for comforting me.
“To the lad George (Evans) who unfortunately went in for the tackle, please put no blame on yourself mate.
“These things happen. Go and get promoted for us.
“Also thank you to both sets of fans at the game, and fans from the clubs I’ve played for, for getting in touch.
“Thanks to the hospitals both in Reading and Oxford, especially the surgeon and his team, who have repaired me to give me the best possible chance of getting back as soon as possible.”
Barrow, too, acted to diffuse the situation in the post-match press conference.
“I don’t think there was a lot in the challenge,” Barrow acknowledged.
“He’s not that type of player, it wasn’t that type of game.
“I won’t lay any blame on him and I don’t think Shaun would if I’m being honest.
“He’s a decent lad (MacDonald), and it’s just a blow to him because he’s been in the Welsh squad a few times this season.
“I had a reasonable view from the side. It’s only the third time I’ve heard that noise, that crack.
“I knew he had broken his leg straight away. It’s a blow to any player, and unfortunately you’re looking towards Christmas now for the next time he’ll be playing.”