Thanks to muscle injuries robbing Roma of Chris Smalling, Roger Ibañez, and Marash Kumbulla for most of 2021, Paulo Fonseca is no stranger to dealing with a depleted roster, but the injury bug has bitten Roma again, as the Giallorossi will now have to do without one of their most important players, midfielder Jordan Veretout. If you caught Wednesday's nail-biting victory over Fiorentina, you likely saw Veretout fall to the pitch around the hour mark, writhing in pain as Franck Ribery carried the ball up the pitch in a sequence that eventually led to Leonardo Spinazzola's own goal.
With Veretout unable to put any weight on his right leg, to the point where he had to be carried off the pitch and then up several flights of stairs out of the Artemio Franchi, this didn't look like your garden variety sprain.
Veretout was immediately subbed off in favor of Pedro and was originally scheduled to undergo diagnostic imaging tests on Thursday. While the tests were delayed a day, reports out of Italy suggest that Roma's 28-year-old French midfielder has suffered a first or second-degree strain to the flexor in his right thigh.
While Roma hasn't made an official statement on the injury, speculation runs rampant that Veretout may miss up to 40 days, meaning he'll miss a spate of crucial matches for Roma, including the club's two-legged tie against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Europa League, as well as Serie A fixtures against Genoa, Parma, Napoli and Sassuolo.
Without Veretout, Paulo Fonseca may have to get a bit creative with his midfield selections, but we can assume that Gonzalo Villar and Amadou Diawara will do the heavy lifting in Veretout's absence, though we can't rule out Bryan Cristante returning to his natural(ish) position now that Roma's defense is finally healthy. There is also the possibility that Lorenzo Pellegrini could operate in a more withdrawn role, with Pedro or perhaps Stephan El Shaarawy starting alongside Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the attacking midfield.
Roma is fortunate that this injury wasn't more serious, but replacing Veretout's heart, hustle, and tenacity, not to mention his 10 goals and two assists, won't be easy.
Guéris bientôt, Jordan!