Representative image of a football
Representative image of a football. Pixabay: jarmoluk

Former Wolves striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake is reportedly suing a surgeon after he unnecessarily ended his playing career.

Ebanks-Blake, who retired from professional football at the age of 33, underwent surgery on a broken leg in 2013 before he was forced to retire in 2019 after suffering another leg problem. During the 2018-19 season, while playing for a lower-ranked English club Walsall Wood, Ebanks-Blake sustained a serious injury having broken his leg for the third time in his career.

Ebanks-Blake's surgery in 2013

Back in 2013, renowned British specialist James Calder performed Ebanks-Blake's surgery. However, the orthopaedic surgeon also performed a type of keyhole surgery on the English striker's ankle to assess a previous cartilage injury and to remove damaged tissue, a technique aimed at provoking new fibrocartilage growth.

The Cambridge-born forward underwent surgery after he fractured his leg while playing for Wolves in a game against Birmingham City. Ebanks-Blake played three seasons of the Premier League while at Wolves, but following the operation, the player never managed to ever return to the English top flight.

In High Court documents, Ebanks-Blake's attorney Simeon Maskrey KC has claimed that the then-27-year-old striker began to suffer pain and stiffness in his joint, which was previously fine.

The former football player is now suing Prof Calder for a massive compensation pay-out for the premature end to his career.

The amount of Ebanks-Blake's claim has not been revealed but is likely to run into millions as the Englishman is claiming for the loss of a lucrative Premier League career at the age of just 27. At the time of the operation, the average annual salary for an English top-flight footballer was around £1.6 million, reported The Sun.

Ebanks-Blake first joined Cambridge United's academy before making a big switch by joining Manchester United's academy in 2002. The striker spent two years at Manchester United's youth set-up before making his senior debut with the Red Devils during the 2004-05 season. He played just two League Cup games for the Old Trafford side before he was loaned off to Royal Antwerp, a second-tier Belgian club.

Ebanks-Blake's downfall in football

The Cambridge player had to make his way up from the lower leagues to Wolves, where he made a name for himself, scoring 64 goals in 193 appearances in all competitions between 2007 and 2013. However, the leg fracture at the end of the 2012-13 season brought curtains down to his career in the top flight as he spent his remaining career at lower and non-league clubs.

After the surgery at Wolves, Ebanks-Blake was transferred to then Championship club Ipswich Town late in 2013. Despite taking regular steroid injections into the ankle, the English striker continued suffering from pain. From there, he moved to Preston North End, before going down into non-league football and retiring following another leg fracture in January 2019.

Continuing in the High Court documents, the attorney remarked, "If Mr Ebanks-Blake had been informed of the significant risk of long-term pain and stiffness, he would not have consented to the operation. He would have opted to wait and undergo surgery if or when the joint became painful or stiff. He was left unable to play football at all without recourse to steroid injections. When he did play, the loss of movement and pain hampered his ability to play to his previous standard."

The attorney also claimed that Ebanks-Blake "continues to suffer pain and stiffness in the left ankle. He has developed consequential psychiatric symptoms of depression."

Prof Calder is a renowned surgeon, especially among football players, including Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) star Neymar. After treating Neymar in 2019, Calder performed successful surgery on the player's right ankle ligament last week at the ASPETR clinic in Doha.