ANOTHER ONE: Bielsa will not rule out shoulder surgery for Kalvin Phillips
PA - Mike Egerton
Marcelo Bielsa has refused to set a time-frame for Kalvin Phillips’ return to first-team action and indicated he could send the midfielder for shoulder surgery if he faces an extended spell on the sidelines.
Phillips limped out of Leeds’ draw with Brentford last week with a hamstring injury while Liam Cooper and Patrick Bamford sustained similar injuries, ruling all three out of Saturday’s Premier League trip to Chelsea.
Phillips has been battling a shoulder problem since sustaining the injury against West Brom in May and Bielsa admitted it would make sense to fix the issue if reports of a possible two-month absence prove accurate.
Bielsa said: “The time they will be out is subject to their evolution, and I can’t express myself any clearer in that sense.
“If the time that (Phillips) needs to recover from this (hamstring) injury exceeds the one that he needs to recover from his shoulder, then it makes sense.
“But as we don’t know how long he is going to take to recover from his current injury, I can’t apply that common sense.”
Bielsa confirmed defender Robin Koch is making good progress after a pelvic issue but is likely to be eased back into action in Under-23 games upon resuming training this weekend, while Rodrigo is still suffering from a heel injury.
The Leeds boss proceeded to distance himself from concerns that the number of hamstring injuries currently afflicting his squad could in some way be down to his unique style of pressing football.
“The injuries are in the tendon, not in the fibre of the muscle – I want to be precise,” added Bielsa. “They are not muscular injuries.
“If you look over the statistics of injuries for most teams, a high percentage of teams have around four absentees per fixture.
“Things happen to us but they also happen to our opponents – it is not because it is a method.”
Bielsa stressed that last week’s trio of fresh injury setbacks would not necessarily alter his plans for the transfer window, having previously stated his reluctance to get involved in many new year deals.
“Like I have always said, if there are the conditions to bring in a player that is better than the players we have at our disposal, then that is welcome,” added Bielsa.
“But we all know the difficulties of the winter transfer market. It is difficult to find players who are competing, that don’t have a place in the team they’re in. For those conditions to be met, it is not that simple.”
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