Edin Dzeko's match winning goal on Saturday was many things: not only was it his first home goal of the season, it was his first strike at the Olimpico in more than a year, it was also the result of a stunning assist from Stephan El Shaarawy, who played Dzeko into space with a Totti-esque flick of his toe. It was a brilliant and important goal from start to finish, but lost among the excitement of that moment was the sight of Daniele De Rossi falling to the pitch in a crumpled heap.
Moments before El Shaarawy played his killer pass to Dzeko, De Rossi just completely collapsed on the ground, flat on his back, face wincing in pain as El Shaarawy and Dzeko teamed up to deliver three points. And if there is one thing we know about De Rossi, it's that he's tough as nails, so the severity with which he reacted should have put a knot in our collective stomachs. It didn't look good.
And, well, here we are 48 hours later and our worst fears have been confirmed; De Rossi may miss a month of action, and possibly the remainder of the season, thanks to that right thigh inury.
While De Rossi was fortunate to avoid tearing anything, the strain is severe enough that it might keep him sidelined for 20 to 30 days, putting the remainder of his 2018-2019 season in jeopardy. There is an outside shot De Rossi will return for the final two matches of the season, away to Sassuolo and home to Parma, but he is assuredly on the outside looking in for the next three to four matches, a stretch that includes next weekend's six pointer against Inter Milan and tough fixtures against Cagliari and Genoa, not to mention Juventus.
We're all too well aware how important De Rossi remains to Roma, in mind, body and spirit, and with so much at stake and with the race incredibly tight, Roma will have to make do without their captain during the most critical stretch of the season.