Norwich City striker Gary Hooper given all-clear from any ‘long-term’ injury

Gary Hooper and Panathinaikos' Nikolaos Marinakis in action during Saturday's pre-season friendly at

Gary Hooper and Panathinaikos' Nikolaos Marinakis in action during Saturday's pre-season friendly at Carrow Road. Hooper was later stretchered off with a shin injury. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City fans could breathe a big sigh of relief on Monday night after it was confirmed Gary Hooper had avoided any 'long-term' injury following his early exit against Panathinaikos.

The £5m summer signing was stretchered off in the second half of his second Carrow Road appearance in Saturday's victorious pre-season climax against the Greek side, and immediately taken to hospital for X-rays to a knock on his left shin and knee.

The fear was a lengthy delay to the start of Hooper's Premier League career with the Canaries following his potracted move from Celtic, given City's curtain-raiser at home to Everton on Saturday.

However, Hooper's initial X-ray confirmed there were no broken bones and a second scan on Monday showed the striker also avoided any fracture or serious damage from what was an awkward clash with defender Gordon Schildenfend.

The news will be a major boost for City boss Chris Hughton, who is planning to build on a positive summer with an equally buoyant start to the new top-flight campaign.

'Both the X-ray and the scan are fine and confirm there is no fracture or any other problem which might indicate a long-term injury,' confirmed Hughton on Monday night.

'There is still some bruising Gary suffered from the knock and he will continue to be monitored and assessed over the days ahead.'

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It remains to be seen whether Hooper will be fit enough for Saturday's opening fixture – something that should become clearer later in the week.

But for now, avoiding a lengthy absence will be more than enough to keep the good mood of most City fans going into the new term.

Hughton will also have been boosted by the fact team captain Sebastien Bassong played 60 minutes – his first action since the summer – in City Under-21s' development league victory over Stoke at Colney on Monday afternoon.

Luciano Becchio may well have left the City manager a little more concerned when he was forced to leave the action after the break following a clash of heads. But there should not be any lasting damage – with Hooper's all clear adding to the day's good news.