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It appears that the injury that forced the removal of Stephen Ireland at halftime of the Southampton match was a broken wrist. The Irish midfielder will miss at least two weeks.
One of the stranger occurrences in the forgettable match against Southampton was the disappearance of Stephen Ireland from the pitch at halftime. Ireland hadn't been stunning anyone, but he had played better than he had in previous matches. There was talk of an arm injury, but nothing was confirmed at the time.
Well, now we have confirmation that Ireland did indeed injure his arm, or, more specifically, his wrist. Paul Lambert seems to be optimistic that Ireland will only miss a couple of weeks, but man, a broken wrist is a pretty delicate thing. Don't be surprised if this bumps up a little past the two week mark. The loss of Ireland from the midfield isn't necessarily a terrible thing, either. He hasn't been the player we'd all like to see this season, and his absence will give Lambert time to try other options.
In some ways, it's fortunate that Ireland injured himself when he did. While Barry Bannan has been great on the left side, he isn't really a true winger. He may be able to slot into Ireland's place in the midfield and yield the wing to the freshly returned Marc Albrighton.
While it's never good to see a player injured, Ireland's knock won't be fatal to the team. He's not irreplaceable at this point, and I doubt we'll see too much difference at this point. Ireland at his best is fantastic, but he hasn't been for most of the season. I imagine we can only go up from that spot in the lineup.