Attacker Cristiano Ronaldo will be kept out two additional weeks with a thigh injury, reports Richard Farley of NBCSports.com, and Real Madrid need to be seriously concerned about his status moving forward.
With two more weeks on the sidelines, Ronaldo will presumably be ready to go on Dec. 14 when Madrid take on Osasuna. He'll miss a Copa del Rey match with Olimpic de Xativa and El Real's Champions League group stage final in the process, but those contests shouldn't concern Madrid.
Madrid should exercise serious precaution in handling Ronaldo's injury. It goes without saying that he is by far the best player on the club and the catalyst for the offense. If he comes back and isn't 100 percent healthy, then he risks further injury.
The match against Osasuna figures to be a cakewalk for Madrid. They are ranked 16th in La Liga, and Madrid (the No. 3 club) should be able to take them down without their best player.
Madrid will still have Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema to provide firepower on the attack, and relying on Bale is probably a good idea at this point. He's playing exceptionally well of late, as evidenced by his first hat-trick with Madrid on Saturday against Real Valladolid.
Sitting Ronaldo for that match would ensure that he gets even more rest before their match on Dec. 22 against Valencia.
Valencia are the No. 9 club in La Liga and a much tougher test for Madrid. With almost four full weeks on the sidelines, Ronaldo should be perfectly healthy by then. He'll need a few days prior to the match to shake off the rust, but that is to be expected after not playing for a month.
Madrid should not rush Ronaldo back. Sure, this two-week timetable is likely a pretty accurate expectation of when he'll be able to return. That being said, Ronaldo may still be hurting at that point. A thigh injury can be tricky, and it needs to be treated with care.
If he's rushed back, Madrid risk losing him for an extended period of time. As they look to climb past No. 3 in La Liga, playing without Ronaldo for more than a match or two would put their quest in jeopardy.
On the season, Ronaldo has 17 goals and three assists for Madrid. Replacing his production won't be easy, but the current schedule is favorable enough that Madrid should be able to roll without him until December 22.