It looks like everything was fine with Islam Slimani until last Tuesday when he kicked a ball in training and felt something in his leg.
As a precaution, Rafa now thinks it will be over two weeks before he will be fit again.
That what he was last Monday as far as everybody in the medical and coaching staff though.
But these things happen and you just have to manage it which Rafa, of course, will do as he tries to win the next two games at Bournemouth today and next Saturday at his former club Liverpool.
Rafa Benitez – being cautious with Slimani
This is what Rafa has said about Slimani’s injury setback as reported in the Northern Echo today:
“When we signed Islam we knew he had a little bit of an injury but he has been training and doing well.”
“He was just feeling the injury a little bit, so we made sure we were cautious with him.”
“Last Friday I was watching him run in training and he looked fine. He was working with the physios and the fitness coach and he did everything that we asked.”
“Then on Tuesday we were training and were working on possession, he was feeling really well but then he kicked the ball and just felt something.”
“Things like that can happen.”
“But he’s fine in himself, he’s positive and he’s telling me ‘oh, I feel fine, I can turn, I can spring’, but just with this gesture of kicking the ball he felt something at the top of his thigh.”
“We think it could be two or three weeks for Islam, it just depends. It’s unlucky for us,”
“We have two bits of good news, the first is that we just have Slimani and Gamez out, so our injury record is quite good.”
“The second bit of good news is that team is doing well. If we can continue to play like this, we can win games.”
“And it means that Slimani can give us something more at the end of the season.”
“So maybe he will be even more important to us.”
Those words from Rafa are indicative of why Rafa is such a good man-manager.
He’s not making too much of it, and Islam just wants to play for Newcastle; Rafa is also staying positive about things.
And it’s got to be frustrating for the 29-year-old who has already said he wants to join Newcastle permanently.
But it could be worthwhile to send the striker to a specialist in case there’s something our medics are missing about his injury.