The 21-year-old forward was injured in a 23 March romp at Sparta, where Feyenoord won 5-0, only coming off the bench for the final ten minutes. Interestingly, the player was shown the yellow card by referee Bossen as he limped off for daring to leave the field under his own steam, instead of climbing on a stretcher.
It soon became clear that the injury was worse than originally feared. That it was, in fact, the same injury that kept Ruud van Nistelrooy out for a year and delayed his transfer to Man United. For Smolarek the price was just as high, as the injury ruled him out of the Polish squad for the World Cup.
The discharge from hospital ends a sorry chapter in the young Pole’s short career. UEFA recently confirmed that Smolarek had not smoked cannabis, after a small percentage of cannabinol was found in his urine in a random drug test. And the Football’s European governing body has now also ruled out passive smoking as a cause. ‘As it happens, we just got word from Switzerland today,’ Feyenoord manager Jan D. Swart explained. ‘The heightened cannabinol content is completely due to the use of health food products.’