Feb 13 (Reuters) - English Premier League clubs have paid 134.2 million pounds ($187 million) in wages to injured players so far this season, with Manchester United topping the list by shelling out more than 15.8 million, according to a study.
Insurance broker and risk consultant JLT Specialty, which compiled the study, said the cost of injuries was on track to surpass last year's total of some 175 million pounds for the season as a whole, raising concerns about demands on players even though the number of injuries is down.
"With many of the soft tissue injuries being down to fatigue, these figures will raise questions about fixture pile-ups, especially with the rising costs involved," said Duncan Fraser, head of sport at JLT Specialty.
A gruelling December schedule saw the average number of new injuries peak at more than 19 per week, the study found Defenders were the most likely to get injured with 164 cases reported so far.
Although Manchester United's injury count stood at 20, well below West Ham United's 41, they paid more because of the club's big salaries and the severity of injuries, JLT Specialty said in its latest Premier League injury index.
The study, which collected data from the start of the season up to Feb. 5, added that Manchester United also had the highest average cost per injury at 869,881 pounds, while tiny Bournemouth had the lowest at 144,531 pounds.
"With the average cost of injuries rising for another year, and the number of injuries rising at this point last season, the overall total lost by clubs looks set to eclipse the 2016-17 total," Fraser said.
Runaway league leaders Manchester City find themselves in good health with only 16 injuries and a total of 442 days out, the second-lowest behind Southampton, as well as the third-lowest average of unavailable players per match day at 2.62.
Knee injuries were the costliest to clubs, with teams paying 36.7 million pounds overall, while hamstring injuries were the most common with 91 occurrences.
$1 = 0.7194 pounds Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by David Holmes