PKL 9: Pawan Sehrawat injured in Tamil Thalaivas' opener

Pawan Sehrawat is stretchered off after suffering an injury. Shyam Vasudevan/ESPN India

Pawan Sehrawat's Pro Kabaddi League (PKL9) campaign got off to an unfortunate start as he picked up a knee injury during Tamil Thalaivas' season-opener against Gujarat Giants on Saturday.

Pawan, who was captaining the Tamil Thalaivas after sealing a record Rs 2.26 crore to the team this season, hurt himself in the 10th minute of the first half. The scores were level at 7-7 and Chandran Ranjit, the Gujarat Giants skipper, came on to raid.

Thalaivas had only two men on the mat - Pawan and Sahil Gulia - and had a chance to bag two points if they could inflict a Super Tackle. Sahil went after Chandran's upper body and Pawan swooped in to attempt an ankle hold but twisted his knee in the process.

His ankle gave away and his knee caved in as he collapsed on the mat. The half-capacity crowd, which had loudly cheered each time Pawan made a move, was stunned into silence. The Kanteerava indoor stadium had, after all, been Pawan's kingdom when he starred for the Bengaluru Bulls in the past.

Pawan buried his face into the mat and rolled around in agony while clutching on to his right knee. Medical staff rushed to him and a few nervous minutes followed. Pawan was soon strapped onto a stretcher and taken away.

Pawan's immediate reaction suggested it was a nasty injury, but Tamil Thalaivas coach J. Udaya Kumar was hopeful of a speedy return. "He should be back in 2-3 days," he said in the post-match conference. However, sources suggested that Pawan could spend a longer duration on the sidelines.

In the minutes he spent on the mat, Pawan didn't put in as many raids as you'd expect. He had only two raids in the opening 10 minutes and scored just one bonus point. However, Udaya Kumar appeared to use his squad well as he rotated the raiding duties between Narender and Ajinkya Pawar.

Narender, making his PKL debut this season, stepped up in Pawan's absence with a finer Super-10 as Tamil Thalaivas tied with Gujarat Giants. Could Pawan have made the difference to this tight finish?