The challenge that fractured Blackpool midfielder Jim McAlister’s leg was labelled a “shocker” by Gary Bowyer.
McAlister was stretchered off and rushed to hospital following Sean Murray’s rash injury-time tackle in the 1-1 home draw with Colchester. A fractured tibia was later confirmed.
The U’s substitute was shown a straight red card on his debut and the Blackpool manager felt it was thoroughly deserved.
Bowyer said: “The most frustrating news is the potential loss of Jim McAlister and I think that puts things into perspective a little bit.
“He’s gone to hospital in an ambulance and we wish him a speedy recovery. It was a red all day long. It was a shocker of a challenge.”
McAlister had been one of Pool’s most impressive players on his 32nd appearance this season, putting in a disciplined display in an unfamiliar right wing-back role in place of the suspended Kelvin Mellor.
Bowyer added: “Jim was magnificent filling in. He was up and down. With his energy levels, we had no worries about putting him there and it’s disappointing how it’s ended for him.”
The challenge caused a melee as McAlister’s teammates were left angered by the vicious and late tackle.
Colin Daniel was booked for his role in the fracas, while Colchester ended the game with nine men as defender Tom Eastman had earlier hobbled off after the U’s had made all three changes.
Their manager John McGreal said Murray apologised to him and a Blackpool spokesman confirmed the player had been in touch to say sorry.
McGreal said: “Sean came up to me and apologised, but it’s one of those things when the ball runs away from you and you’re trying to impress.
“In the 15-20 minutes he was on, I thought that he was impressive. He was combative, got around the pitch and created opportunities. He’s going to be a huge hit for us.”
Blackpool, who slipped another place to 14th, are still without a League Two win in 2017 and their last one at home was against strugglers Newport in November.