Injuries are nothing new to this current Juventus season. It's especially true in defense, where we've seen just about every starter miss at least some time due to a muscle strain or simple knock, in-game injury or something picked up during the most recent training session.
The latest — and certainly not even close to being the greatest — potential injury came when Juventus center back Leonardo Bonucci had to come off in the second half of Italy's 1-0 win over Albania on Tuesday night in Genoa. And, because of it, we are set to see Juventus either scramble to find a makeshift defense that can survive a game or two, or go into their first game out of the international break with a less-than stellar backline.
First, this is what Bonucci had to say after the game about his injury:
"I just felt my adductor muscle firm up. It has happened a few times over the last few years, so I know my body and how far I can push it. I put ice on it and the situation improved."
(Source: Football Italia)
Keep that ice coming then, fella.
Now, onto what we're really here to talk about. Juventus are already without central defenders Martin Cáceres, Andrea Barzagli likely Angelo Ogbonna after he returned early from international duty. What could Bonucci missing any kind of time mean to Juventus? More specifically, how Juventus will deal with all of these defenders being hurt as they prepare to travel to Rome to face Lazio on Saturday night?
The short answer: It will create chaos, absolute chaos amongst Juve's backline.
A more detailed and thought out explanation: Bonucci might be injured bad enough for him to miss the trip to the Olimpico over the weekend at the very least. Emphasis on might because, as of this post going live, we don't have any kind of official word from the club as to how Bonucci is doing. But let's just go ahead and pretend Juve are without their No. 19. That leaves Max Allegri with one healthy defender, Giorgio Chiellini. And an out-of-form Chiellini, at that.
Excuse me while I cringe out of fear a little bit.
For the first time in a couple of seasons, Juventus very well may be forced to use a non-defender in defense. That man, almost certainly, should be Arturo Vidal, who has played a little bit of defense in his day. Other than recalling Daniele Rugani for a one- or two-game stint — which ain't happening, folks — Juventus will, at the very most, have two central defenders against Lazio. Two, people. Nothing even close to being ideal.
Pretty much every Italian media outlet that predicts starting lineups think that Bonucci will play on Sunday. Until we hear something from the Juventus doctors and/or press office, we'll have to think that way, too. But if he doesn't, you might want to strap on your seatbelt because this is going to be a tricky ride.
Either way, things could be interesting. Even more than they already are. Exactly what you want to hear when a crucial Champions League game is just seven days away, huh? Yeah, not really.
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