Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka admitted he felt deep sympathy for Rhys Williams after he suffered a freak Achilles injury that could rule him out of a second successive World Cup.
The Australian defender -- part of the Socceroo squad who will compete at the finals in Brazil -- was carried off on a stretcher in pain and taken to hospital after twisting his body sharply just before the break in Boro's goalless draw with Wigan at the Riverside.
“They will check him and we will know more soon but it looks like a very serious injury for Rhys,” said the Spanish head coach.
“His face and the doctor's face were not good. He was crying and I feel sympathy for him.
“It is very bad injury for him. I hope he will recover as soon as possible because he had a big chance to play in the World Cup so that will be a big incentive for him.
“All our feelings are with him, mine, the team's, the staff's. He will get all the support we can give him.”
Football Federation Australia released a statement saying they were waiting for more information on the extent of the damage.
“Football Federation Australia medical staff has been informed by Middlesbrough that Socceroo defender Rhys Williams has suffered an Achilles injury and are awaiting more information regarding the extent of the injury,” an FFA spokesperson said.
Williams missed the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 after suffering a serious pelvic injury.
The Socceroos have already suffered one major blow in the lead-up to the World Cup with striker Robbie Kruse expected to miss the finals in Brazil after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament.