RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — When Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's right knee buckled under the weight of a tackle, the England midfielder left the pitch fearing he might miss the World Cup.
"With the timing of the injury, I did worry and fear the worst," he said, discussing the incident for the first time. "But from the scan results, and from everything the medical team have said, I got away quite lucky really."
He sustained the injury in England's penultimate World Cup warm-up match against Ecuador 11 days ago following a challenge by Carlos Gruezo.
"As he's rolled into the side of my knee it went inwards," Oxlade-Chamberlain recalled. "It opened up the ligament into a position where your knee shouldn't really go. That's where the damage happened ... and I actually sat in the scanner with the fingers crossed on both my hands for the whole 25 minutes.
"At the end I couldn't feel my fingers. After I came out our doc saw the scan results and was pretty happy with them, considering what they'd feared."
Oxlade-Chamberlain's recovery is exceeding expectations after staying in England's 23-man squad in Brazil, and there remains a chance he could be fit for the second game against Uruguay on Thursday. Another injection of youthful pace in the team could help England recover from its losing start in Group D on Saturday when Italy won 2-1 in Manaus.