Alvaro Morata, who limped off at the half-hour mark against Manchester City at the weekend has officially been withdrawn from the Spain squad for the two upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
The striker’s early substitution was considered to be precautionary earlier as Conte said that his injury is not a serious one after the conclusion of the game but Spain’s doctors believe that it is an injury that could keep the man in form out for a month or even more.
His muscular injury was diagnosed as a “grade II myofascial injury to the hamstring muscles”. There are a few scary words in there, including the tendency for hamstring injuries to repeat.
Grade II is the middle of three grades assigned to soft tissue injuries and that automatically means multiple weeks out. Of course, the fact Morata was sent back to Chelsea after joining up with the Spain was already an indicator that the injury was not minor and not something he could deal with in just a few days. Every injury is different, but grade II injuries can last up 6-8 weeks in worse case scenarios.
The term myofascial means that the injury is not a ligament or tendon injury, but rather an injury to fascia that surrounds all muscles and internal organs. If any of you ever had plantar fasciitis, you will, unfortunately, be quite familiar with how painful and annoying fascial injuries can be. As with most soft tissue injuries, recovery from myofascial injuries is usually measured in weeks, not days, and sometimes months.
Based on that diagnosis — rather than Conte’s more optimistic words immediately after — Chelsea will be very lucky to have Morata back immediately after the international break.
Of course, Chelsea will conduct their own tests on their number 9 to verify if Spain’s claims are indeed true but they will definitely be sweating over missing out the man who has already scored 7 goals for Chelsea for a busy October period.
The Premier League champions travel to the bottom-placed Crystal Palace after the international window, but over the subsequent 22 days, they face a further six matches.
Those games include both Champions League ties with Roma, as well as matches against Watford, Bournemouth and, most significantly, Manchester United on Bonfire night. Morata would not have been expected to play in the Carabao Cup fourth-round tie at home against Everton.
Chelsea’s only other recognized striker is Belgian Michy Batshuayi. He has scored 5 goals so far this season which included the winner against Atletico Madrid but Conte is still not confident about his ability which was evident when he brought on Willian ahead of Michy to replace Morata on Saturday.
Chelsea fans can do nothing but pray that their hitman is back sooner rather than later as they could really struggle without his services.