Just as Leonardo Bonucci gets set to make his return from injury, Max Allegri is set to be without another one of Juventus’ most-experienced defenders for the next few weeks.
Juventus announced Tuesday morning that captain Giorgio Chiellini — who was subbed off late in Sunday night’s win over Hellas Verona — has, as is rather familiar to all of us, suffered another muscle injury, this time in the form of a low-grade calf strain. Juventus’ statement was far from extensive and didn’t lay out any sort of official timetable for his return, but it is expected that Chiellini will miss at least a couple of weeks — which, considering we’re currently in the shortest month of the year, would mean a March return is probably the most likely scenario.
Juve’s brief update on Chiellini after he underwent scans at J Medical went as follows:
Giorgio Chiellini underwent radiological scans at J | Medical today, which revealed a low-grade lesion of the deep musculature of the left calf.
And so it goes. I guess Chiellini being healthy for an extended period of time is just too much to ask for these days no matter how much Allegri tries to manage his minutes and prevent the 37-year-old from putting too much wear and tear on his body these days.
But, as the schedule gets busy again and the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 against Villarreal awaits Juventus toward the end of the month, Allegri is down to three central defenders again with Chiellini out for the next few weeks. With Bonucci back in training with the rest of the group and being tipped to make his return to the starting lineup for Thursday night’s Coppa Italia quarterfinal against Sassuolo, it’s not like Juve’s center back depth will be stretched as thin as it was in January.
And at least there’s the fact that Daniele Rugani has proven to be a solid option in case of emergency in recent weeks, too. So there’s that.
The unfortunate part is that we now just have to add another injury to the list of muscle injuries Chiellini has had to deal with over the last two or three years. At this point, I’ve lost count of how many there have been and you probably have, too. Now we just have to hope that no other central defenders get hurt to make this depth situation any worse.