Ballack out for six weeks with shinbone fracture

BERLIN - Bayer Leverkusen captain Michael Ballack will be out for six weeks after fracturing his shinbone in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Hanover 96, the Bundesliga club said on Sunday.

The Germany captain, who missed the World Cup and has not played for his country since injuring his ankle in May, was diagnosed with the fracture on Sunday morning following a scan.

Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes had initially said after the game it may have been a ligament injury but a scan on Sunday revealed the full extent of the injury.

"Ballack is expected to be out for six weeks," the club said on its website. "He picked up the injury on his left leg during a one-on-one battle in the match against Hanover."

The 33-year-old had not been included in the Germany squad for the two Euro 2012 qualifiers earlier this month due to a lack of match practice.

He will now also miss the second batch of qualifiers in October, with a return to the national team now looking more unlikely than ever.

Germany won this month's qualifiers against Belgium and Azerbaijan with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira taking over Ballack's holding midfield role as they had successfully done at the World Cup in South Africa two months ago.

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