Ballack blow for Leverkusen
Ballack has been walking with the aid of crutches since picking up the injury in Bayer Leverkusen's Bundesliga match against Hannover - only his third game back following the ankle problem which ruled him out of the FIFA World Cup.
Tests carried out yesterday to assess the midfielder's recovery delivered the news that Ballack will not be able to play again until January. Not only was part of Ballack's shin fractured in a tackle with Hannover's Sergio Pinto, but ligaments in the region of the injury have been torn to a greater extent than initially diagnosed.
"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."
The news means the 34-year-old must also put his return to the national team on hold. He had hoped to be back in action later this month, enabling him to take part in Germany's international friendly with Sweden on November 17.
However, he must now wait until February's friendly against Italy in Dortmund before making his comeback after almost a year, assuming he is able to prove his fitness after this latest setback. His last cap came against Argentina on March 3 this year.