Casey Stoner has been diagnosed with torn ligaments and fractured bones in his right ankle, after suffering a massive highside in the first few minutes of qualifying for the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix on Saturday. Stoner fell very heavily on his right ankle, and was taken to the medical center for evaluation, before being sent on to the Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for further evaluation. There it was determined that Stoner has torn several key the ligaments on the inside and outside of the ankle, as well as small bone chip fractures and a larger fracture on the talus, the bone that sits between the tibia and fibula leg bones and the rest of the bones in the foot. Stoner also suffered a high ankle sprain and has swelling in the tissue surrounding his ankle.
Stoner was discharged from the hospital with his foot strapped, and is to decide on whether he is able to safely ride in the morning, local time. Given the severity of his injuries, this will be difficult, as it is usually impossible to put weight on an ankle which has been so severely damaged. Ligament damage in the ankle also takes a long time to heal - in ordinary circumstances, several weeks at least - leaving Stoner facing a monumental task to defend his title. Whether Stoner is able to ride at Indianapolis remains to be seen, and from there, his condition will be assessed further.
~~~ UPDATE ~~~
Casey Stoner has been cleared to ride by the circuit medical staff on Sunday morning. The Australian will test his condition by trying to ride in Warm Up.
Below is the press release issued by the Repsol Honda team on Stoner's condition:
Casey confirmed with fracture and torn ligaments in right ankle
After today's crash during qualifying practice for the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner was taken to the Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for further check ups.
Casey had X-rays and an MRI scan on the right tibia and fibula, right ankle and right foot. It was confirmed he had suffered several small chipped bone fractures, a 10mm fracture on the talar dome below the tibia and fibula, contusions to the anterior tibia, posterior tibia and medial malleolus, and soft tissue swelling around the ankle. He has also torn his deltoid, anterior talofibial, calcaneal and fibular ligaments in addition to a high ankle sprain.
Hospital staff strapped the ankle for protection through the night and Casey left the hospital at midnight. He will consult with the medical team in the morning to asses the situation and decide if he is able to ride the machine safely.
"It's the first time in my career that I haven't been able to get up and walk away from an accident myself. As soon as I stood up, I looked down and saw my foot was at a strange angle to my leg. I had a shooting pain in my lower leg, then I felt a crack as my ankle popped back in. It was very painful and I was sure I had broken something. The local staff at the circuit Medical Centre were all very helpful and after taking some initial x-rays they agreed I should go to hospital for further checks. The team that looked after me at the Methodist Hospital were fantastic, so professional, attentive and incredibly helpful, I'd like to thank them all for taking good care of me. They confirmed that I had some chipped bone around my ankle and a sm all fracture, but I was concerned about the damage done to any ligaments so we did an MRI scan. This showed that I had torn almost every ligament in my ankle and heavily bruised my tibia. I need to see how I feel tomorrow morning to understand if I'm able to race. I am really disappointed as I felt we had the package for pole in this race and a strong chance for the win. Many other riders came off today, I hope they are ok. We'll see how we feel in the morning and will do all we can to be on the grid"