The last image of Grant Hanley's season was of him being carried down the Ewood Park tunnel on a stretcher after rupturing his achilles. 

For the Scot, it has kickstarted a period of rehabilitation and recovery with a return to training not expected until nearer Christmas at the earliest. 

Hanley is City's club captain. He holds great influence in the dressing room and has been a leader of this Norwich side for a series of seasons. 

In a post-match interview after his first game as captain against Rotherham United, Andrew Omobamidele spoke about the lengths Hanley had gone to in order to mould him for when that occasion came his way. 

Similarly to Tim Krul, Hanley has acted as a soundboard for City chiefs as they sought improvement off the field and a cultural architect. His influence has helped push standards and fed into a wider structure enabling young players to flourish.  

When he was recruited by Stuart Webber in 2017, it was designed to inject some Championship experience into Daniel Farke's newly moulded squad.

Since, he has lifted two Championship trophies, made 183 appearances for the club, and played nearly 300 games in the second tier. Hanley has been a key part of City's project in recent seasons. 

The end of the season that saw them wilt under pressure, lose games at will and lack the experience required to navigate difficult waters provided an unwelcome window into life without Hanley. 

Perhaps the biggest compliment to Hanley is just how short City looked without him in the side. He has the capability to make those alongside him - be it Ben Gibson, Andrew Omobamidele or even Jacob Sorensen - look and perform better. 

There are shortcomings with distribution but his raw defensive attributes mean he remains the best centre back option at the club at present. He would be quick to admit this season hasn't been one of his finest in yellow and green. 

Norwich will have to do work to replace him this summer. That will likely include the addition of another experienced head in the heart of their defensive set-up, especially given Bali Mumba's reintegration into the side. 

Next season will likely provide a snapshot into life without Hanley at City - it must show a different picture to the final six games of the campaign when Norwich extracted just two points. 

The challenge more widely will be about nursing Hanley back to full fitness. 

In his round of post-season media, Webber admitted that the severity of the injury means a cautious approach is required and that other injuries, specifically groin or hamstring, could occur in the future. 

The Pink Un: Grant Hanley suffered a serious injury against Blackburn back on Good Friday,Grant Hanley suffered a serious injury against Blackburn back on Good Friday, (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

Norwich fans only need to recall Louis Thompson's struggles for fitness after suffering the similar injury. Players can find it tough to hit the same level of performance they achieved before it after surgery. 

At 31, Hanley's challenge will be trying to prove those assessments wrong. He has endured serious injuries at Norwich before only to re-establish himself in the pecking order, but none were as bad as the one he is currently recovering from. 

Some medical experts have said that players only return to 80pc of their ability after a ruptured achilles - with a European Championships on the horizon for Scotland, Hanley will be desperate to defy the pessimistic scientific and medical opinions. 

But the road back to being a City regular will be lengthy. In the meantime, Norwich will be out to recruit other options. If Omobamidele does depart this summer, as looks likely, it will be two central defenders that arrive at the club this summer. 

City will also face a decision on who starts the campaign as captain in Hanley's absence. An increased level of leadership is something David Wagner is hoping to see after a recruitment drive in the window. 

By the time Hanley is an option for selection again, the defensive landscape could look radically different. 

The Pink Un: Grant Hanley has played a key role in helping nurture young talent at Norwich City.Grant Hanley has played a key role in helping nurture young talent at Norwich City. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

That is firmly in the horizon, though. For Hanley, it will be about getting fit and contributing off the pitch. His influence will still be felt in team meetings and by offering advice to younger talents. 

Hanley's City contract runs until 2025 - the likelihood is that he will remain at the club until at least the expiration of that deal. 

For now, Norwich will have to do without Hanley as an option in their side. Their defensive set-up is set for a major refresh after a season of cheap concessions and individual errors. 

Where Hanley's role sits may depend on the success of that change, but it is firmly out of his control for now.