Lionel Messi suffered a bruise on the outside of his knee and will undergo further tests on Thursday to determine the extent of the injury, Barcelona have said. The Argentine was injured in Barcelona's 0-0 Champions League draw on Wednesday and was carted off the field.
Messi has not undergone a MRI yet so it is possible that the injury is more serious than just a bruise, but the initial evaluation is encouraging. When he went off the field in apparent pain, there was fear that Messi had suffered a serious injury so if it is just a bruise and a week or two on the sidelines, Messi and Barcelona will consider themselves fortunate.
Regardless of the extent of the injury, there will be questions about Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova's decision to bring Messi off of the bench in the match. Barcelona had already clinched first place in the group so the match didn't matter to them, but Messi came into the match anyways and it proved costly.
Messi was in all alone on Artur and danced around him, but the Benfica keeper reached out and knocked into the Argentine. Messi took a couple more awkward steps before shooting and falling to the turf, clutching his knee.
If Messi's injury is serious, it will be the first time since 2006 that Barcelona will have to play an extended period of time without their attacking wizard. Messi has been remarkably healthy and when he last suffered a serious injury six years ago, he was still a rising player with immense talent and not the superstar he is today, let alone the world's best player.