Younes Kaboul has suffered a setback in his fight to return from injury.
Kaboul had been out earlier in the season with a knee problem and just as he was getting his match sharpness back with the Under-21 side, he has picked up a thigh strain in the Under-21 match against Manchester United.
It's a more serious thigh strain which could take weeks to recover from, and given a lack of match fitness and sharpness it would be a surprise to see him in a Spurs shirt as 2012/13 draws to a close.
It’s a big blow to Andre Villas-Boas who would have almost certainly used Kaboul as an excuse to rotate his defensive players, which would enhance the club’s chances of keeping everyone fresh over the final chunk of the season.
Spurs also have injuries to other key defensive players; William Gallas and Sandro, which means there is going to be a big strain over the club through important matches in the next few weeks.
Spurs are in the hunt for a Champions League place but they need their defence to remain solid and consistent, in order to give them the best chance of winning close matches in their quest for Champions League football.
Kaboul would have definitely added to the back four because he’s one of the strongest players physically in the Tottenham defence and his aerial ability makes him useful against the sides that look to bombard the Spurs box with long passes and crosses.
He also adds in the attacking half of the field with the same qualities making him a real problem for the opposition, when Spurs have a chance to send their own set pieces into the penalty area.
Tottenham are level on points with Chelsea (58) but the Blues have a game in hand. However, if Spurs win the game in hand they have over Arsenal then they would replace the Gunners and move from fifth position to retake their top four slot.
It’s now very important that Spurs give Kaboul the best chance of a speedy recovery because if they rush him back, as tempting as that is, it risks making his grade one tear even worse which would definitely rule him out for the rest of the season.
There is a good argument to suggest that Tottenham should lave him out of the side for the remaining games, which would give him the best chance of resolving all physical issues and being a prominent player next season.
However, that increases the chances of fatigue setting in with other central defenders such as Michael Dawson and Jan Vertonghen.
The only positive to draw from this news is that the strain isn’t worse than the scans have revealed and with the right treatment, Kaboul could still feature in the match day squad for the final games of the season.
Get him back quickly or leave him for next season?
image: © wonker