As nice as it was for Juventus to go two points clear atop the Serie A on Sunday night, I’m starting to think that both Juve and Roma would just like to hit the restart button on the entire weekend for two very obvious reasons.
Just a few short hours after Nicolo Zaniolo was diagnosed with a torn ACL and his season cut short much, much too early than it should have been, the same can now be said for Juventus defender Merih Demiral. Following tests at J Medical Monday morning, Juventus announced that the young Turkish center back suffered what Maurizio Sarri feared in his post-match press conference — a serious knee injury. Demiral, who had to be subbed out less than 20 minutes into Sunday’s 2-1 win over Roma at the Stadio Olimpico, suffered a torn ACL of his own as well as damage to his meniscus after falling awkwardly on a header.
Demiral will undergo surgery in the coming days, according to the club’s statement.
While no timetable was officially released, it’s likely that Demiral will miss around six months — and possibly longer — just as Giorgio Chiellini is currently dealing with after his own ACL tear that he suffered in early September.
Demiral was seen leaving J Medical on crutches just before the club’s official announcement went live. And while the English-language post on Juve’s official website doesn’t mention any kind of tear, the Italian version does, eluding to Demiral suffering a “lesion” twice within a matter of sentences.
Unlike Zaniolo’s injury that looked rather uneventful at the time before camera’s showed the young Italian writhing in pain on the ground and then in tears, Demiral’s injury probably made your stomach as queazy as can be based on how his knee and leg were extended as he hit the ground. Demiral, in a shock to nobody based on his Chiellini-like personality, tried to play through the injury for a minute or two, but then had to make way for Matthijs de Ligt — who himself has battled an injury the last month or two — midway through the first half on Sunday night.
That means Juventus’ central back depth is now: Leonardo Bonucci, who has played about as much as anybody this season; de Ligt, who might not be able to handle extensive minutes because of his still-injured shoulder; and Daniele Rugani, who has played all of 90 minutes in Serie A so far this season.
Chiellini might be expected back sometime in March, but it’s obviously going to be a guessing game as to what Juve’s going to get from him seeing as he’s a 35-year-old defender with a lengthy injury history coming off a torn ACL and six months on the sidelines.
It just sucks to see Demiral, a player who was starting to really thrive at Juventus thanks to an extended run of playing time, suddenly deal with about as serious of a lower body injury as you can get. While his season may be over, he’s shown he is definitely one for the future. It just sucks that we’ll have to wait months and months and months to see him play next.