Anthony Crolla: Important for Ryan Mason not to rush comeback from skull injury
Former world lightweight champion Anthony Crolla has backed Hull midfielder Ryan Mason to make a full recovery from the fractured skull he sustained in last weekend's clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Crolla suffered a similar injury when he was attacked after confronting burglars outside his home in December 2014 - but was back in the ring fighting for the WBA world title within seven months.
While the extent of Mason's recovery process is yet to be revealed, the increasingly positive news coming out of the club has given Crolla hope that the 25-year-old will return to Premier League action.
Crolla told Press Association Sport: "It was devastating to hear the news about Ryan, especially because I went through a similar experience, and it is important that he is surrounded by a great team and family.
"It will be important for him not to rush anything. I wanted to rush back straight away and, although I was back fighting in the ring within seven months, everyone is different and that will have to be addressed."
Not only did Crolla return from his injury, but he launched into a series of high-profile world-title showdowns which will reach their fifth episode in March when he has a rematch against Venezuelan Jorge Linares.
Linares ripped away Crolla's WBA crown with a superior display in their first fight in November to establish himself as the best lightweight in the world, but granted the Mancunian - a keen football fan - an immediate rematch.
Crolla added: "I've proved that if you're young and fit you can cut the recovery time in half and even come back stronger from it, and I'm sure Ryan will be able to do the same.
"It just shows that in sport one minute you can have the world at your feet and the next it can all be cruelly ripped away from you. It's just that I've been lucky enough to come back and realise my dream."