Leicester defender Justin out for season with ACL injury

LEICESTER, England (AP) — Leicester defender James Justin will miss the rest of the season because of a knee injury that requires surgery, manager Brendan Rodgers said Friday.

The 22-year-old Justin, who has played in 31 games in all competitions this season, damaged his anterior cruciate ligament in the 1-0 victory over Brighton in the FA Cup on Wednesday.

“It’s a massive blow for us,” Rodgers said.

Third-place Leicester hosts Liverpool on Saturday with the defending champions three points behind their hosts.

Justin had been walking around after Wednesday’s game, giving hope that the injury wasn’t serious, but scans revealed the damage.

“He’s been so robust,” Rodgers said. “He’s the one player that’s virtually played nearly every game since he’s come in, in a variety of positions, and performed at a very, very high level.”

Justin had started all 23 Premier League games this season, scoring twice and adding two assists. He scored in a 2-0 victory over Fulham on Feb. 6 after making a long run down the left side, collecting a pass from James Maddison and calming finishing on his second touch.

Rodgers said Justin had likely been earning consideration for an England roster spot.

The club said Justin would be sidelined for “a lengthy spell.” ACL surgeries are typically followed by six-to-12 months of rehabilitation.

Leicester trails Manchester City by seven points, though the leaders have a game in hand. Manchester United is in second place, two points better than the Foxes.

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