World Football Injury Tracker: Week of March 18 Report
Competitive domestic action takes a break this week as the world of football turns its collective gaze towards international action, with both friendlies and 2014 World Cup qualifiers taking pride of place on the fixture list.
For some clubs it presents a tense week of hoping their players avoid injury while on international duty, through no fault of the club’s, while for others it gives an extra chance to aid in the recuperation and recovery of players who have been suffering with knocks and strains.
Here's the usual round-up of all the injuries and rates of recovery around the game.
English Premier League
With no fixtures now until the weekend of March 30, there are several Premier League players hoping to recover in time to take part in their teams' next game.
Manchester City, who look like now having to settle for second place in the title race, are aiming to have midfielder Jack Rodwell and right-back Maicon fit once more by the end of this month. Likewise, Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere and Newcastle United goalkeeper Tim Krul are closing in on returns.
Norwich City are waiting on the complete recovery of key midfielder Alex Tettey, and Aston Villa midfield duo Marc Albrighton and Gary Gardner are both in the final stages of recuperation, though will not feature until April at the earliest.
Ryan Taylor of Newcastle is nearing a return from an ACL injury.
Spanish Primera Division
Over in Spain's La Liga, there are four or five mid- to long-term absentees hoping to make a comeback in the coming weeks.
Iker Casillas of Real Madrid continues to recuperate from his hand injury, with Dani Benitez of Granada also looking for a comeback by the time the next matches come up. Mallorca's Joao Victor is almost in full training from an ACL injury, and the same goes for Zaragoza's Ivan Obradovic.
League leaders Barcelona are missing defensive duo Carles Puyol and Adriano, but will likely be without both players until the latter part of April or the beginning of May.
Granada midfield duo Hassan Yebda and Iriney are hoping to return from injury before the end of the season.
Over in the German Bundesliga now and we start with three strikers who are hoping to be back on the pitch before, or soon after, the end of March.
Nuremburg's Roussel Ngankam, Freiburg's Sebastian Freis and Stuttgart's Cacau have all been missing in action for significant time-frames, totaling just 17 league games and two goals between them this season. Cacau in particular is returning from a long-term injury having suffered a damaged ACL.
Defenders Bruno Soares, Michael Mancienne and Kyriakos Papadopoulos are all still out injured, but have no estimated date of return from their respective clubs.
In terms of the biggest name players, Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels might return in early April from an ankle injury, Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp may miss the rest of the season with a fractured hand, and Hamburg's Rafael van der Vaart should return soon from illness.
Italian Serie A
Finally over to the Italia Serie A where we complete our round-up.
AS Roma trio Miralem Pjanic, Mattia Destro and Leandro Castan are still all out injured, but all three may make a return to the squad within the next week to 10 days.
Inter Milan are likewise hopeful of seeing a return for their injured pair Ricky Alvarez and Yuto Nagatomo, though Diego Milito and Gaby Mundingayi are likely out for the entire season. The same goes for AC Milan's Nigel de Jong and Sampdoria striker Davide Gavazzi.
There is better news for Fiorentina forward Giuseppe Rossi who continues to close in on a long-awaited return to football, and a debut for his new team.
Abel Hernandez of Palermo is still up to a month away from recovering from his knee injury.
Player injury data from TransferMarkt.co.uk