Aug 22 2012 By Andy Newport
STRICKEN Saints star Darren McGregor has been sent to Spain in a bid to help him recover from the mental pain of his latest horror knee injury.
For the second time in a year, the popular defender is fighting to save his career after shredding knee ligaments against Hibs on Saturday.
Buddies boss Danny Lennon was handed the nightmare news on Monday night that McGregor had ruptured the cruciate in his right knee – just months after battling back to fitness after snapping the same ligament in his left leg.
The defender will undergo surgery in a few weeks’ time once the swelling around his battered joint reduces.
In the meantime, Lennon has ordered the devastated 27-year-old to jet out to the continent in a bid to get some R&R ahead of yet another six to nine-month slog with club physio Gerry Docherty.
Danny told Express Sports: “We have sent Darren away to Spain. He’ll be out there for five days with his girlfriend Erin just to try and get his head around the situation.
“It’s a devastating blow for the lad and we just thought that getting him away would allow him the space he needs to come to terms with the long battle that lies ahead of him.
“I know I’m speaking for every single person in the club and the dressing room when I say that our hearts go out to Darren.
“He’s a top bloke and wears his heart on his sleeve and I’m just heartbroken that he’s having to go through this again.”
McGregor’s worst fears were confirmed after he was stretched off just three games into the new campaign.
Ironically, Saints were just three games into last term when McGregor was hit with his first long-term blow.
His left knee buckled during a clash with Dundee United at Tannadice, putting him out of action for eight months.
He now faces a similar spell on the sidelines after damaging his right peg as he tried to fire Saints back into contention during their 2-1 defeat to the Easter Road side.
“The two injuries he has had are quite similar in that they were both complete ruptures,” said gaffer Lennon. “So Darren knows that hard work that lies ahead of him.
“But he has got a fantastic support team at this club – it stretches from the chairman at the top all the way down to the fans who have been brilliant with all their messages of goodwill to the lad.
“We have got fantastic medical staff here and his girlfriend is wonderful too and won’t let his spirits get down, so Darren will get all the support he needs to battle back again.
“We will keep him motivated. There are a lot of hard, difficult hours in the gym ahead of him but there’s no doubt in my mind he will fight back as strong as ever.”
Lennon insisted that McGregor’s banter-loving team-mates will not allow the crocked centre-half’s spirits to drop too much and the manager even joined in with a joke of his own.
“Anyone who has seen Darren after his first injury will know that his left peg is now huge because he had to strengthen it so much, so at least this will now give him the opportunity to build up his wee skinny leg to the same level!”