It’s not going to hurt anything in the bottom of the water heater. Aluminum anodes are often troublesome to remove because they split off from the core wire and snag on the underside of the top of the tank, so I’m not surprised at your experienced.
You can replace the anode with a magnesium one. Now that the bits of the old anode are no longer in physical contact with tank steel, they are not anode, per se, but merely part of sediment buildup.
If you have 44 inches overhead clearance, then either SKU8 or SKU33 will work. If you have clearance issues, then SKU10.