Kalidou Koulibaly was a surprise absence from last night’s game against Manchester United, and as it turns out, he’s just the latest defender in the team to pick up a knee injury. It’s apparently “not too bad” but clearly too bad enough to cause him to not be able to play.
It all depends of course on the specifics of the injury, and without that information, we’re just guessing, but knee injuries tend not to be short term, even if they are not bad (i.e. not actually involving a ligament). Neither Wesley Fofana nor Reece James have an injury that’s “too bad” and yet both will miss at least weeks, if not months.
“[Koulibaly] just felt his knee at the back end of the Brentford match. We’re not sure the extent yet but this one was too soon for him.”
Graham Potter may be trying hard not to sound the alarm, but that’s not an easy task, especially as he also revealed that Mateo Kovačić is continuing to deal with the knee problem that kept him out at the start of the season, after limiting him throughout preseason.
“He’s been nursing his knee for all season pretty much [and] it’s impossible for him to start all the games. We’ve planned for him to have less time than he has but things have conspired so he has been on the pitch...”
Not too bad, too? Bad.
Obviously not ideal, especially as Ben Chilwell’s also getting some maintenance days still since it’s been just ten months since his ACL replacement.
“We have to manage the players and deal with what we have. Everyone is challenged at this part of the season, the schedule is relentless so it’s always a balance between sharing the load with the players because they are not robots.”
-Graham Potter; source: Football.London
And there’s certainly no letting up for these final few weeks before the start of the World Cup.