Sassuolo defender Francesco Acerbi is braced for the worst after indications a cancer relapse caused his positive doping test.
The former Chievo and Milan man underwent surgery in July to remove a testicular tumour, which was discovered during a routine medical when he had unusual blood test readings.
He then failed a doping test after the December 1 game against Cagliari due to the presence of hCG.
This is a hormone that can be produced by a cancerous tumour, so Acerbi underwent further tests that – according to the latest reports – suggested the illness has returned.
More examinations are required over the next few days, but for the second time in five months it seems as if a routine sporting test has flagged up a potentially life-threatening condition for the 25-year-old.