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Reports: Andrea Pirlo won't play in Juventus' game against Empoli

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It's been a few weeks since we've heard much of anything about the status of midfielder Andrea Pirlo. And because of that, when Juventus gave us an injury update on Claudio Marchisio at the beginning of the week, I wondered why there had been nothing included that day about one of Il Principino's fellow beard-clad midfielders.

Apparently, now we know why such things have happened.

According to both Tuttosport and the Gazzetta dello Sport, Pirlo won't be taking part in Juventus' game against Empoli on Saturday and could return for their trip to Florence in the Coppa Italia against Fiorentina next Tuesday night. That means the original three-week diagnosis and timetable for Pirlo's return will be extended at least another week further as he recovers from the strain in his right calf he picked up in the first leg against Borussia Dortmund last month.

All of this is with an eye on Juventus' Champions League quarterfinal opener against Monaco on April 14 in Turin and keeping Pirlo healthy. Isn't having a 14-point lead in Serie A nice? It allows you do some things.

Juventus have not released anything officially regarding Pirlo's condition even before Marchisio was injured in the middle of the international break.

Pirlo's extended injury absence means that Juventus will again be as slim as it gets in terms of midfield depth coming out of the international break. We're still just a couple weeks into Paul Pogba's two-month injury layoff, and follow last week's shenanigans amongst the Italy training staff, how long Claudio Marchisio is truly out injured is still up in the air. (At least we know it won't be for six or eight months, so we've got that going for us, which is nice.)

What am I trying to get at here?

Well, injuries suck, first and foremost. Secondly, the likelihood of Max Allegri using the 3-5-2 for the next couple of games went up just a little more than before simply because of who he has — or doesn't have right now — at his disposal. And lastly, I throw this out there for the masses: Who's ready for some Stefano Sturaro playing time?