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Douglas Costa suffers thigh strain, putting Champions League status in doubt

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Well crap.

Douglas Costa of Juventus FC in action during the Serie A... Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

One of the major concerns coming out of the coronavirus suspension of play was the completely realistic possibility that muscle injuries were going to be a common occurrence. And because we here at Black & White & Read All Over are quite familiar with players getting muscle injuries, there were a few names that immediately popped into our heads.

It didn’t take long for Gonzalo Higuain to come up (and then actually get injured).

Shortly thereafter Douglas Costa’s name came up because ... well, you probably know why. You know that the eventual Costa muscle injury will happen a few times over the course of a season — and it officially has returned again.

Juventus announced Friday that Costa — who was a second-half substitute in Juve’s 2-1 loss to Udinese the night prior — has suffered a Grade II thigh strain and will be out for at least the next two weeks. Seeing as Juventus has a little over a week left in the 2019-20 Serie A season and have the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16 tie against Lyon just a few days after playing Roma, that aforementioned time table likely means that Costa will be racing to get fit if he wants to play in Europe again this year.

Of course, getting injured and missing time is nothing new for Costa — especially since he joined Juventus from Bayern Munich three years ago. But that has been especially true over the last 18 months or so. Take this season as the best example of that notion. Why? Because this is the fourth different muscle injury that Costa has suffered over the course of the 2019-20 campaign, and each of those times he was out for at least 2 12 weeks, missing 17 games in total this season.

Missing another 2 12 weeks seems like a very realistic possibility this time as well.

An already thin bench for Maurizio Sarri is now one fewer. And seeing as Costa has been one of his first go-to subs for much of the last six weeks, Sarri now has to find a way to deal with the likelihood that he won’t have Costa to turn to off the bench unless Juve make a deep Champions League run. Does that mean moving Juan Cuadrado back to a more natural winger position and playing Danilo in defense? Or will Sarri continue to roll the dice on Federico Bernardeschi even though he has been far from impressive both the last couple of weeks and the season as whole?

Either way, Costa is hurt again, and we’re heading down a road that we’ve been on much more than any of us would have liked to. Oh well.