|Bayer Leverkusen's Michael Ballack reacts during their Europa League play-off soccer match against Tavriya in Leverkusen August 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Ina Fassbender)
LEVERKUSEN, Germany -- Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Michael Ballack will not play again until 2011 after the shin injury he picked up last month has been discovered to be worse than first thought.
Ballack moved from Chelsea to Leverkusen over the summer, but he was injured in just his third game for his new club on September 11 on a tackle from Hannover's Sergio Pinto.
The 34-year-old Ballack had just overcome an ankle injury which kept him out of this past summer's World Cup for Germany when he injured his shin.
The tackle from Pinto not only fractured the shin but also damaged ligaments in the area, which have been discovered to be torn to a greater extent than initially thought.
Ballack will now miss the first half of the season for Leverkusen, while he has also been ruled out of Germany's friendly with Sweden on Nov. 17, a game that Ballack was hoping would mark his return to the national team.
"This is very saddening," said Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes on his club's website. "However, I hope that Michael Ballack will return to the team for the second half of the season strengthened by his rehabilitation and specific preparations."