Doctors have warned it could be weeks before the full implications of the serious neck injury suffered by FC Utrecht defender Mihai Nesu on Tuesday can be assessed.
Nesu, 28, broke a cervical vertebra when team-mate Alje Schut landed on top of him as they challenged for the ball in a training session ahead of this weekend's final round of Eredivisie fixtures.
The incident left Nesu without any feeling in his body from the neck down and fighting for breath. After being taken away from the training ground in an ambulance, Nesu spent five hours in surgery.
The operation was deemed a success but Utrecht team doctor Simon Goedegebuure revealed it could be some time before they can assess whether there will be a complete functional recovery of the damaged spinal cord nerves.
"We will have to wait for the coming days or weeks to see whether the feeling in Mihai's limbs returns,'' Goedegebuure said.
Nesu's team-mates have spoken of their horror at the Romania international's injury.
Fellow defender Jan Wuytens told De Telegraaf: "For the first few seconds you were just thinking that he was going to get up. But he stayed down and started screaming.
"He said he could not move and that he could not breathe. It was a very intense experience. You feel so helpless, and Mihai is extremely popular with the whole team.''
Forward Dries Mertens added: "You could see immediately that it was very serious. Mihai could not move and wanted oxygen. I'm still completely shattered. It was a terrible experience.
"After Mihai was taken to the hospital by ambulance we have all had to support each other - particularly Alje, because he was devastated.''
Nesu has made over 80 appearances since joining Utrecht from Steaua Bucharest in the summer of 2008, and has won eight caps for the Romanian national side since making his debut in 2005.