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Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon a doubt after spraining his ankle at training

Claudio Villa

SB Nation's 2014 World Cup Bracket'

Writing that headline wasn't very enjoyable. Same goes for seeing the sight of other headlines that involve Gianluigi Buffon possibly missing Italy's opener against England on Saturday.

With Italy manager Cesare Prandelli confirming in his final pre-match press conference that Buffon suffered an ankle injury in training on Friday, the worry entering the Azzurri's World Cup opener is more than just how will the team play. Nope. It's now centered around the status of their legendary goalkeeper and captain.

The Azzurri captain, a key member of the triumphant side of 2006, was absent from his scheduled appearance at the pre-match news conference at the Arena Amazonia.

Antonio Candreva instead sat alongside head coach Cesare Prandelli, who confirmed Buffon had picked up an ankle knock during training on the eve of the Group D clash.

"He twisted his ankle very lightly," Prandelli said of the 36-year-old Juventus man. "It was a very, very light ankle twist. He is receiving therapy at the moment, but it is nothing serious."

(Source: ESPNFC)

You read the words 'very lightly' and 'nothing serious' and get all warm and fuzzy inside because you think it's just a matter of a little rehab and Buffon will be back to normal and in goal in no time. But then you see Italy team doctor Enrico Castellacci say that Buffon has a '50-50 chance' of starting against England and all those warm and fuzzy feelings go right out the window.

Goodbye, happy. Welcome back, stress. Didn't miss you one bit.

Italy have already been hit with injuries to midfielder Riccardo Montolivo (out of the World Cup) and fullback Mattia De Sciglio (out against England at the very least), but having to even worry about an injury to Buffon is a completely different matter. If he recovers before kickoff, then that's great. But there will always be the worry that he can re-twist the ankle again and be out for an even longer period of time. It's not exactly like playing the goalkeeper position doesn't involve suddenly changing direction or the use of your feet...


As if worrying about Arturo Vidal's knee wasn't enough already, now we have to stress about the health of Buffon's ankle? Just put them all in bubble wrap, guys. That might be the only way to keep them from getting hurt.