LONDON - Arsenal's teenage Wales international Aaron Ramsey suffered a horrific leg injury against Stoke City on Saturday which will keep him sidelined for months, according to shocked manager Arsene Wenger.
Ramsey, 19, was taken off on a stretcher and into a waiting ambulance at the side of the pitch with what appeared to be a badly broken leg after a challenge by Ryan Shawcross.
The 22-year-old defender looked utterly distraught even before he was sent off for his 66th minute challenge in the Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium.
Players from both sides looked shocked after the incident and Shawcross appeared to be wiping away tears as he walked towards the dressing room.
Sky Sports, who were broadcasting the match live, announced they would not replay the incident as it would be "too upsetting" for their viewers.
"There was absolutely no malice in the challenge. I would never, ever go out to hurt a fellow professional," Shawcross later said on the club's website.
"I am deeply upset that Aaron has suffered such a bad injury and my thoughts are with him. I would like to send him my best wishes too for a speedy recovery."
Ramsey was treated for several minutes and had an oxygen mask on his face before he was taken away.
His team responded with two late goals to win 3-1 and move to within three points of Chelsea at the top of the table.
Shawcross was later called up by England for the first time when manager Fabio Capello announced his squad for Wednesday's friendly international against Egypt at Wembley.
Wenger told Sky Sports the injury made it hard for him to enjoy Arsenal's win adding he was also unhappy about the tackle.
Stoke manager Pulis said he was "desperately upset" as well, adding: "Ryan has no malice in him at all, he is a young kiddie and he was crying his eyes out as he went off the pitch.
"He will be devastated. There is no way in a million years he would set out to do that to any player.
"Our thoughts are with him (Ramsey) and his family. We hope he makes a speedy recovery and everyone here wishes to see him back on a football field as soon as possible."
The reaction of the players was reminiscent to that which followed the injury suffered by Arsenal's Eduardo da Silva at Birmingham City two years ago which kept the Croatia striker sidelined for a year.
Wenger said: "I am very proud of my team but very sad about what happened to Aaron Ramsey. We know it's a bad injury. We have to transfer him to London tonight to see if he needs emergency surgery or not.
"The only thing is we do not know how long he will be out, but it is certainly long term.
"I'm not very happy with the tackle. I just want to say we know what we are expecting, a battle everywhere.
"But we have now lost three players - (Abou) Diaby, Eduardo and now Ramsey today, a boy of 19 years old to horrendous tackles.
"The first two were out for nine months to a year, and I don't believe in coincidence when you suffer this as many times as we do.
"When you see a player get injured like he (Ramsey) did tonight, its not acceptable."
Wenger said the fact that Arsenal had closed the gap on Chelsea at the top was pleasing, but added: "It is very hard though, you cannot really enjoy the victory".
Stoke went ahead when Danny Pugh scored after eight minutes. Niklas Bendtner equalised with a header in the 32nd before a penalty from Cesc Fabregas and a tap-in by Thomas Vermaelen, both in injury time, sealed Arsenal's win.