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Reports: Smalling Won’t Play After Break, Eyeing Early December Return

More bad news for Chris Smalling, whose return to the pitch has been pushed back until early December... if he doesn't sign with the Saudi League instead.

AS Roma v AC Milan - Serie A TIM Photo by Silvia Lore/Getty Images

While Chris Smalling has dealt with the usual sprains, strains, and the "ugh, I can't get out of bed" feeling that comes with a lifetime spent playing a contact sport, the 33-year-old English center-back clocked nearly 5,000 league minutes for Roma over the past two seasons. With his efficient, no-nonsense style of play, the man affectionately known as Smalldini has been a pivotal piece of the Giallorossi's defense since arriving in 2019, providing stability for Paulo Fonseca and José Mourinho's oft-injured defenses.

The problem, as you're well aware, is that the injury bug has bitten Smalling hard this season. After appearing in the club's first three fixtures of the season, Smalling has been dealing with tendonitis in his knee since the middle of September, missing 13 games over that span. Part of the problem, according to Il Messaggero, has been Smalling's reluctance to try different therapeutic approaches during his recovery, preferring a more conservative approach over more invasive methods.

However, Il Messaggero continues to speculate that if Smalling is willing to deviate from his preferred holistic approach, he could return in 15-20 days, potentially putting him on course for a return against Sassuolo on December 3rd.

Of course, with reports that Smalling could join the Saudi League, his recovery timeline may not matter at all.