LONDON (AP) — Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas may have broken a leg while scoring the tying penalty kick during Wednesday night's Champions League match against defending champion Barcelona, an injury that could sideline him for the World Cup.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger started Fabregas after the Spanish midfielder passed a fitness test on a knee injury. Fabregas left Emirates Stadium on crutches after again getting hurt.
"We have to wait for tomorrow, but I hope I can wear the Arsenal shirt again this season," Fabregas said. "I fear the worst, which is that I have broken something. I do not think it is going to be good news, but still I hope there will be."
Fabregas said he thinks he damaged his fibula when he was fouled by Carles Puyol, then struck the penalty kick with great force.
"When I took the penalty, I was quite strong, but after when I went to get the ball, I could not walk any more," Fabregas said.
Fabregas' injury came a day after an injury to Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney worried England. Rooney will miss two to four weeks because of a sprained ankle, a person close to Manchester United told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not been made,
Fabregas was preparing to shoot when his legs got tangled with those of Puyol, who was trying to challenge from behind. Swiss referee Massimo Busacca gave Puyol a red card and Fabregas got to his feet, then kicked the ball down the middle as goalkeeper Victor Valdes dived to his left.
Wenger wanted to take Fabregas off the field for the final moments but already used all three substitutes in his team's comeback from a two-goal deficit for a 2-2 tie.
"I cannot give you any report yet. I've not spoken to the medical people," Wenger said. "I couldn't change anybody, I had to leave him on even though I wanted to take him off. In any case, he wanted to stay on."
Even if the injury is minor, Fabregas is suspended for next week's second leg after getting a yellow card for fouling Sergio Busquets.
Wenger acknowledged it was a risk to play Fabregas just four days after he was hurt in a Premier League game but said the 22-year-old insisted he was fit to face the club he started with.
"You have to trust how the player feels," Wenger said.
Fabregas is Arsenal's leading scorer this season with 19 goals in 36 matches.
A prolonged absence would hamper Arsenal's challenge for the Premier League title and could hurt Spain as it attempts to add its first World Cup title to the European Championship.
Wenger's problems don't end there. Defender William Gallas returned for the first time in seven weeks but was carried off with a calf injury in the 45th minute. Forward Andrey Arshavin departed in the 27th.
"He will be out for a while now," Wenger said of Gallas. "I took a gamble and it did not pay off. I can say now I regret that. Arshavin is the same. He's done his calf."