Once we saw Leonardo Bonucci’s ankle twist in a way that ankles don’t normally twist, the thoughts of how much time he will miss started flooding into our collective minds. The fact that he tried to gut his way through the pain for the better part of the first half didn’t exactly help matters, either.
When Bonucci did come off just before halftime of Sunday’s 2-1 comeback win over Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico, the focus turned to what the exams the next morning would tell us.
The verdict is in. And what we thought would be the case is indeed the case, as Juventus announced late Monday morning that Bonucci suffered a “sprained his right ankle, affecting the ligament and ankle joint” against Lazio and has already started rehab treatment. While Juve didn’t lay out any kind of timetable in their brief statement online, reports out of Italy are suggesting that Bonucci could be up for out to a month with the sprained ankle.
Now, with the chance that Bonucci — who was spotted on crutches after Sunday night’s win — will miss up to a month with his sprained ankle, the obvious focus is on whether he will be able to recover in time for Juventus’ Champions League Round of 16 matchup against Atletico Madrid. If he is indeed out of a month, the first leg against Atleti seems like it’s not possible whatsoever. The rest of the domestic fixtures until the end of February, outside of Wednesday’s Coppa Italia quarterfinal matchup against Atalanta, are all against teams that are in the bottom half of the table.
If Bonucci is indeed out a month, here's Juve's schedule until the end of February. Outside of the first leg against Atleti, it's not exactly the most challenging. pic.twitter.com/7tgiK5ChT7— BWRAO (@JuventusNation) January 28, 2019
If it’s only a month and he’s back come the beginning of March, then it’s manageable — especially if it means Daniele Rugani is able to find a little bit of form since he will likely be the biggest beneficiary of Bonucci missing time due to injury. But if we’re getting toward the beginning of March where Napoli and the second — and likely decisive leg — against Atletico Madrid are laying in wait, then things will get interesting.
Let’s just think happy thoughts for now.
One good thing to come out of Juve’s Monday afternoon training session: Mario Mandzukic and Sami Khedira are back. So, while one player gets injured, another two are close to returning to the fold.