Just like we did yesterday when discussing Paulo Dybala's thigh injury, we kick off today's news round-up with some good but not-great news. After limping off the pitch midway through the first half of Roma's 1-1 draw with Fiorentina, many feared the worst for the Giallorossi's star playmaker. With visions of ruptured ACLs or torn quads dancing through our heads, our worst fears were allayed yesterday when it was revealed Dybala has only a minor thigh strain, which should keep him on the sidelines for approximately a week. (Update: Now he may be out three weeks. Gulp)
But Dybala's injury wasn't the only potential harbinger of doom stalking Roma after Sunday's draw. With the Giallorossi already down a man after Nicola Zalewski was sent off with accumulated yellow cards, Romelu Lukaku tempted fate in the 86th minute, going studs up on Fiorentina winger Christian Kouamé.
Romelu Lukaku gets a straight red card.— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) December 10, 2023
It is Roma's second red of the day. pic.twitter.com/8IujzvD8m5
While Kouamé was fortunate to avoid injury, this was nevertheless a blatant foul by Lukaku. Combine his sheer size, the approach distance, and the speed with which he collided with Kouamé, and it's a miracle he emerged unscathed. The same could not be said for Lukaku, who drew a straight red for this infraction, putting his immediate future in jeopardy.
With a potential multi-match suspension looming over Lukaku, Roma was preparing for the worst: two critical matches (away to Bologna, home vs. Napoli) without their leading scorer. Accounting for 25% of the club's league goals, it goes without saying: Roma cannot survive long without Lukaku.
So, with a slight sigh of relief, we share today's news (and apologies for burying the lede): Lukaku will only be suspended for one match. Granted, it's a six-pointer against the surprising fifth-placed Bologna, but much like Dybala's thigh injury, this could have been much worse.