While Napoli try to figure out Dries Mertens' status for this weekend and further down the line after his frightening injury, new details are emerging that paint a far murkier picture of Mertens' outlook than we'd previously had.
The head of the Belgium national team's medical staff, Doctor Kris Van Crombrugge, spoke to Radio CRC today and spoke frankly on what proved to be terrifying details of the injury that we hadn't yet been told.
"It was a terrible thing, and even the players on the field immediately knew it was something serious because [Mertens] had clearly lost consciousness and did not move his body for over a full minute.
"We immediately immobilized on the stretcher to prevent any motion that could create further damage to his body. [His legs were] paralyzed after the impact, and only after 24 hours was his situation normalized. But the shock was terrible, that impact was terrible."
-Source: La Gazzetta Dello Sport
Let me paraphrase something from that lest it get lost: Dries Mertens could not move his legs for 24 hours. He could not move his legs. That is terrifying. When we were told that he had only suffered a concussion, that eased fears that Mertens had escaped more significant damage, as many were worried about when they saw him collapse in a heap after taking that hellish hit from George Williams.
It's no wonder, then, that according to Doctor Van Crombrugge, Mertens' first concern was whether or not he'd be able to play again. Because, you know, he couldn't feel his legs. He's been released from the hospital now as he is "out of danger" (because that's not ominous or anything), and will return to Naples with Doctor Van Crombrugge later this week to be fully evaluated by Napoli's medical staff and other specialists the club brings in.
Given these updates, it would be shocking to see Mertens play this weekend against Cagliari, but perhaps he'll be available soon afterwards. The important thing, though, is to make sure that he doesn't suffer any long-term complications from this incident, especially now that the details are far scarier than they were before.