We were in the same kind of situation with Paulo Dybala last weekend as we've been in regarding Giorgio Chiellini for a handful of times over his Juventus career. We saw Dybala's name in the starting lineup, wondered how truly healthy he was after missing the midweek game against Bayern Munich, then saw Juve's leading scorer have to leave before the first half came to an end.
After five days of no official news regarding the condition of Dybala's injury from the win over Torino, we got word. Finally, we got word, and it may actually be good news! From Juventus' Friday training report:
After returning from South America, Paulo Dybala underwent medical examinations to assess his progress following the muscle injury he sustained against Torino last Sunday. These have shown an improvement in the player's condition.
His progress will continue to be monitored as the Bianconeri work towards next weekend's return to Serie A action against Empoli.
Yes, don't worry, you weren't the only one wondering why Dybala went on international duty in the first place. I guess Leo Messi and Sergio Aguero needed some goal-scoring tips on the first day or two of training, but that's just me taking a wild guess on this one.
But good injury news is the best kind of news. Even if Dybala isn't 100 percent healthy to face Empoli — and I feel like that should be a huge factor in when he does return — then he isn't that far away from making a return to the field. And with no more Champions League football (/sad/), Juventus only have one more midweek game this season. Based on when that game is, April 20 at home against Lazio, then there's plenty of time in between games to reach full fitness.
Yes, that's a fact even with a three-point lead over Napoli. Empoli can be a tough out, but a potential striker tandem of, say, Álvaro Morata and Simone Zaza is plenty good enough to get the win over Daniele Rugani's former team. Let's be honest, nobody wants to see Dybala struggling with his fitness, and nobody wants to see him rushed back, either. Thank goodness there's still over a week to go in the international break.