As we head into Matchday 30, Roma's concerns remain unchanged. While they're not mathematically eliminated from finishing the season in Serie A's top four, after dropping points in three straight matches and in eight of their last thirteen league fixtures, Roma's Champions League lifeline for next year rests on winning the Europa League. After scoring a somewhat surprising 2-1 win over Ajax in Amsterdam yesterday, Paulo Fonseca certainly has Roma on the right foot in that regard.
Thigh Injury Could Keep Spinazzola Out Two Weeks
Infortunio Spinazzola, l'esterno salterà il ritorno tra Roma e Ajax. Le newshttps://t.co/8uEkqFtbaD— skysport (@SkySport) April 9, 2021
That's the good news. The bad news is, of course, Roma are still beset by injuries at nearly every turn. Without Marash Kumbulla, Rick Karsdorp and Chris Smalling yesterday, Fonseca was once again forced to make do with a short-staffed defense, deploying Bryan Cristante in the heart of defense.
But Roma's defensive woes somehow got even worse yesterday. After pulling up lame in the middle of a rush on Ajax's goal in the 26th minute, Leonardo Spinazzola was forced to the touchline where he received medical attention on his left leg from Roma's training staff. After tending to his left thigh for several minutes, Spinazzola was given the all-clear from Roma's training staff, but his return to the pitch was short-lived and he was replaced by Riccardo Calafiori in the 29th minute.
Spinazzola will undergo further medical tests this weekend but the early prognosis, a tweak to the flexor in his left thigh, could see the 28-year-old miss anywhere from 10 to 15 days of action. Either way, Roma will have to make do without their starting left wing-back for this weekend's tilt against Bologna and Thursday's return fixture at the Olimpico against Ajax, meaning Calafiori could see significant action over the next week and a half.
These types of injuries tend to linger, so keep your fingers crossed.
Nicolo Zaniolo's Return Delayed
With a return to individual training at Trigoria last month, Nicolo Zaniolo seemed primed to make a miraculous return after rehabbing the torn ACL in his left knee. Coming roughly a year after he rehabbed a similar injury to his right ACL, Zaniolo was acing all his recovery benchmarks and seemed poised to return to the pitch in mid April, with a full return to the national team at Euro 2020 (2021) a distinct possibility.
However, according to reporting from La Gazzetta dello Sport and Il Tempo, Zaniolo's return will be further delayed. After his most recent check up with Professor Fink, the surgeon who repaired the ligaments in his left knee, it was revealed that, when compared to his healthy right knee, Zaniolo has 10% less muscle mass in his left leg; a discrepancy that may be due, in part, to COVID-related delays that cost Zaniolo weeks of training.
As a result, Zaniolo will need four to six weeks of additional rehab and monitoring before Professor Fink gives him the green light to resume group training, with an eye on returning to Serie A in May—if he returns this season at all. This delay will also likely spell the end to any dreams Zaniolo had of participating in Euro 2020.
For their respective parts, everyone involved in these decisions—Zaniolo himself, Fink, Roma and even Italian National Team manager Roberto Mancini—have preached patience with Zaniolo's return. After all, as Mancini said in an interview with the Gazzetta, Zaniolo's entire career is ahead of him, so there's no need to rush.
Daniele De Rossi Hospitalized in COVID Precaution
Covid, De Rossi ricoverato allo Spallanzani in via precauzionale dopo focolaio Nazionalehttps://t.co/FdGtCATYMF— skysport (@SkySport) April 9, 2021
Following a COVID outbreak during Italy's recent World Cup qualifying campaign, Italy's newest assistant coach and AS Roma icon, Daniele De Rossi, tested positive for the virus and was taken to Spallanzani Hospital in Rome yesterday with respiratory issues. According to multiple sources, the move was considered precautionary and De Rossi is believed to be in “fair” condition.
De Rossi was one of many players and staff who have either been diagnosed with the Coronavirus or forced into isolation due to exposure.
We'll keep an eye on these situations and pass along developments as they become available.