For years, Roma was menaced by a spate of torn ACLs, a trend that took down players as varied as Alessandro Florenzi (twice), Nicolo Zaniolo (twice), Kevin Strootman (twice), and Tammy Abraham. While the former three have since left Roma and Abraham is slowly working his way back to normality, Marash Kumbulla, who tore the ACL in his right knee on April 29th against AC Milan, made his first appearance in group training this afternoon.
While Kumbulla's return is undoubtedly a welcomed addition to Roma's beleaguered center-back corps, the 23-year-old Albanian international has miles to go before he earns Mourinho's trust. Before his injury, Kumbulla was on the outside looking in, logging a paltry 1,284 league minutes since José Mourinho's arrival in 2021. Now, some of that has to do with the depth Roma had at the position. Still, with Gianluca Mancini, Evan N'Dicka, and Diego Llorente essentially playing a full 90 every weekend, Kumbulla should theoretically slot in as Mourinho's top alternate, providing much-needed rest Mancini and company.
Meanwhile, Renato Sanches, who has played all of 44 minutes since late September while nursing a variety of strains and sprains, has recently returned to full training and was a game-time decision against Udinese on Sunday, perhaps signaling that the worst was over. However, speculation holds that Mourinho may keep Sanches home when the club travels to Geneva to face Servette in the Europa League on Thursday. With low temperatures and precipitation in the forecast, Roma isn't likely to dance with the devil in this particular instance—those conditions could potentially exacerbate Sanches' muscular issues.
It's more of the same for Sanches, whose career has been derailed by a litany of muscular injuries. There's no doubting his talent, but with such limited availability, one has to wonder how much longer Roma's patience will last, which may be fueling the rumors of an early return to PSG for the 26-year-old midfielder.
Still, a lot can change with another 48 hours to go before Thursday's match. Stay tuned for further injury updates.