21-year old Russian middle blocker Ilia Vlasov badly injured his ankle on Thursday in his team’s 3-0 win over Poland. Vlasov had started every set of every match for Russia up until Thursday. He went down early, slipping on a wet floor while going up for a block at 5-5 in the first set and didn’t return to the match.
He was replaced by Vadym Likhosherslov, who scored just 1 point in two-and-a-half sets on the court, though the ball was only set to him twice in that period as Russia shifted away from him as they adjusted to the new lineup.
No exact diagnosis has been released by the Russian federation, but after the match the Russian coach Sergey Shlyapnikov said they’re not certain if he will be available for the rest of the match.
“We overcame the problems with our players’ health, which I mentioned during the yesterday’s press conference, and got the victory. We always believe in the maximum possible win and we are concentrated before every game. Vlasov is injured and we cannot define if he will be able to play in next games.”
Vlasov was on Russia’s team that won gold at the 2015 World University Games and bronze at the 2015 European Games, and after years as the best player on Russia’s youth side was promoted this year to the senior squad. He currently plays professionally with Fakel.
Russia’s remaining matches are against the United States, who swept Russia 3-0 last weekend, and Iran on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Qualification for the World League Final 6
See video of the injury below.