International breaks are always tenuous affairs--and I'm not even referring to the emotional toll of following one's chosen national team—simply because a club's greatest assets are inordinately exposed to chaos. Stripped from their familiar surroundings, a club's star players traverse the continent over a fortnight, plunked down with coaches and teammates they see once every two months or so; it's so often a recipe for disaster, if they don't succumb to fatigue, the injury bug inevitably bites.
In the best of circumstances this may happen in the 75th + minute of a crucial international qualifier, which is a tough pill to swallow, but certainly understandable. However, in true Roma fashion, one of their core players drops in practice. To quote Allen Iverson, not a game, we talkin' bout practice!
The casualty in question is Kostas Manolas, a crucial cog for Roma and Greece. It has been widely reported that Manolas was forced to leave, not only Greece's training session, but their camp altogether, flying back to Rome to receive treatment for an injured rib cage. While this doesn't seem like something that would keep him sidelined for any lengthy stretch of time, the fact that he had to immediately fly to Rome is a bit troubling; if nothing else, this is the sort of injury that sticks with you for months and gives you hesitation heading into 50/50 balls and tackles.
With Antonio Rüdiger still rehabbing and with Leandro Castan's status unknown, if Manolas remains in the stands for even a brief spell, Roma's defense could be in a world of hurt. Rudi Garcia has already been forced to convert Daniele De Rossi into a centerback, but without those three central defenders, we may see a De Rossi-Vasilis Toroisidis central pairing, which is...yikes. So let's hope for the best, eh?
In other injury news, Edin Dzeko has reportedly been cleared to play for Bosnia. Dzeko, you may recall, suffered a knee injury late last month, one which was supposed to keep him out of action for a month. But hey, it's not as if Roma has ever been screwed by a player returning too soon to his national team following an injury, right?
That's all the news that's fit to print today. We're still 11 days away from Roma's next league match.