Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has admitted that he cannot say when captain Fabricio Coloccini will be fit to return to action after the defender suffered a setback in his recovery, as quoted by the Chronicle.
Coloccini has not played since the 5-1 thrashing against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge over two months ago after suffering a calf injury during the squad's training camp in La Manga.
It had been hoped that the Argentine might be fit to play some part in the 3-0 win over Swansea City on Saturday, but the 34-year-old's rehabilitation has not gone as planned.
Benitez, who led the Magpies to their first win in his time in charge at St. James' Park this weekend, admits that he cannot give any real indicator of when the skipper will be fit to return to the side.
The Spanish boss said, as quoted by the Chronicle: "He had a reaction to his injury so we have to go one step back and start again. When we brought him in three days ago, he started running and we asked if he had any problems and he was happy.
"But he felt his injury a little bit so we have to start again. I cannot say when he will return, this kind of thing the recovery is quite complicated because you think that you are fine and then you start and you feel something is not right. But then afterwards when you are tired you have a problem.
"The quadriceps or calf are quite complicated and you get injured and you have the problem. So you have to be careful and just go one step at a time. I had two or three private conversations with Coloccini and he is trying to help. It’s really bad because he knows that he’s really important for us."
The Magpies gave themselves a huge boost in their desperate battle to avoid the drop with the comfortable win over the Swans, their first victory in eight matches since 6 February.
That result, coupled with Norwich's 3-0 home defeat to fellow strugglers Sunderland, leaves Benitez's men just three points adrift of safety with five matches remaining.
They now turn their attentions to another home match on Tuesday which is likely to be a much tougher affair, as they host Manchester City.