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Caution advised as Steve Bruce gives new expected timeframe for Jamaal Lascelles return

3 weeks ago
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Jamaal Lascelles has started all 12 Premier League matches this season but will be missing on Monday night.

The Newcastle United captain was injured 13 days ago against Bournemouth and subbed after 20 minutes.

Lascelles was actually injured after only two minutes when a Bournemouth player went unpunished, after his challenge led to a collision between the NUFC captain and Martin Dubravka.

Scans later showing that Jamaal Lascelles had actually broken his leg (fibula) but had played on for another 18 minutes after the collision.

After those scans, the club released a statement confirming the injury and stated that the player wouldn’t be seen again until after the new year.

However, now Steve Bruce has claimed that Jamaal Lascelles could be back in the first team before Christmas:

“It is a fracture and that sounds awful but it is not as bad as we first feared.

“When I saw his knee, I thought he had done his cruciate.

“We all thought it was ligaments.

“But (instead) he has a crack on the outside of his leg and it could be a month to six weeks.”

Taking it to the lowest estimate, that would see Jamaal Lascelles back for a run of five games in two weeks kicking off with Palace at home on 21 December and ending with the FA Cup third round the first weekend in January.

However, I think we need to exercise caution when it comes to Steve Bruce’s estimates, as he has regularly talked up early returns that haven’t happened.

The biggest one is Matt Ritchie who Steve Bruce said was making an incredibly quick recovery from his late August injury, only for it to coming up to 13 weeks absence and Bruce admitting this week that Ritchie has returned once again to see the specialist, despite an operation in October that was supposedly going to ensure the issue was sorted.

Rafa Benitez was always the opposite, rather than telling fans what they wanted to hear he would be cautious in the extreme with his public comments. Often a player would unexpectedly make a comeback and it becoming a feelgood bonus, rather than raising hopes only to later dash them.

We can only hope that Steve Bruce has learnt his lesson from the disastrous decision to start Allan Saint-Maximin at Tottenham only two days after he had returned to full training.

That caused a worse injury and longer absence, Saint-Maximin’s impact is there now for us all to see and if that ridiculous gamble hadn’t been taken by the head coach, you wonder how many extra points could have been picked up if ASM had been able to start against the likes of Watford and Brighton.

Whilst Newcastle do have strength in depth at centre-back, Jamaal Lascelles is clearly a key player, especially with his leadership qualities. So it is imperative that no unnecessary risks are taken with him.

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