Updates from Friday, Aug. 22
Roberto Martinez has confessed Ross Barkley was close to being ruled out for the entire season by the knee injury that has wrecked the midfielder's start to the season.
Barkley was injured by Everton teammate Gareth Barry, ruling him out for at least seven weeks, but Martinez is thankful the outcome wasn't far worse, per the Daily Mail's Dominic King:
I’ve seen that situation cause an injury that is a full rupture, which then requires surgery and is a far more serious injury. Ross only has a partial tear.
He is fortunate really, yes, it could have been a lot worse. If that action happened earlier in pre-season it would have been a full rupture.
It is a big blow. Ross is not replaceable.
Updates from Thursday, Aug. 21
Roberto Martinez still does not know the full extent of Ross Barkley's knee injury, but admits he will be out for at least seven weeks.
Martinez's latest update was provided by Liverpool Echo's Greg O'Keeffe:
Injury update on Barkley from RM...there is no update yet. Still too swollen to assess tear to medial ligament. Minimum 7 weeks #EFC— Greg O'Keeffe (@GregOK) August 21, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 19
Roberto Martinez has delivered a positive update on Ross Barkley's knee, revealing he could return in as little as two months.
Despite the Everton boss previously mentioning the possibility of a five-month absence, Martinez said he was bemused by reports quoting that predicted timeline, per Everton's official website:
His knee has reacted really well to treatment.
I don't know where the figure of five months [in the papers] came from but obviously the extent of the injury is a little unsure at the moment because we don't know how the next two weeks are going to develop.
It's a medial ligament injury and we know that Ross, in terms of the power and the strength that he has in his body, he could easily react to treatment a lot better than other players.
The length that Ross will be out is a little uncertain at the moment and it could be anything between the eight weeks that we mentioned or a little further. Until the end of the week, or probably the next 10 days, we won't know how the knee is progressing and how quickly Ross can be back.
Updates from Saturday, Aug. 16
Everton's official Twitter feed passed along comments on Barkley's injury from manager Roberto Martinez:
Martinez confirms Barkley has had a scan but says it was inconclusive and he doesn't know how long the midfielder will be out. #LEIvEFC— Everton (@Everton) August 16, 2014
RM: "Ross has been through periods of adversity before and he will know how to cope with this injury." #LEIvEFC— Everton (@Everton) August 16, 2014
Martinez confirms the injury is to Barkley's right knee. #LEIvEFC— Everton (@Everton) August 16, 2014
The club's website added more details to Martinez's account:
Martinez said: “We had a scan but it was difficult to determine the extent of the injury. It is a problem with a medial ligament in his knee, but we don’t know how bad the injury is.
“We know there is a partial tear of the ligament and that could mean anything from seven weeks to four or five months, so we need to be cautious.”
Everton rising star Ross Barkley reportedly suffered a knee injury in training that's expected to keep him sidelined for at least six weeks. It's a major blow to the Toffees just one day before they open the new Premier League campaign.
Tony Barrett of The Times passed along word of the setback:
Massive blow to Everton on eve of new season with Ross Barkley ruled out for 6-8 weeks with knee injury sustained in training.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) August 15, 2014
Greg O'Keeffe of the Liverpool Echo reports Barkley is expected to undergo further testing to determine the exact nature of the ailment:
Ross Barkley will undergo a scan asap which will determine the full extent of the injury. #EFC— Greg O'Keeffe (@GregOK) August 15, 2014
Barkley is coming off a breakout season for Everton. He scored six goals in 34 league appearances and was often the driving force behind the club's attack. The effort was good enough to earn him a spot in the England national team for the World Cup.
He was expected to take on an even larger role for the club starting on Saturday. It now appears his season debut could be delayed for two months depending on the results of the scans.
WhoScored provides a glimpse at the playmaking ability the side will be missing without him:
Ross Barkley: Only Graham Dorrans and Michael Carrick made more key passes without picking up a PL assist last season than Barkley (26) #efc— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 29, 2014
The injury comes after Barkley agreed to a contract extension with Everton during the offseason. The club's official site passed along comments from him after signing the new deal.
Can Everton overcome the loss of Barkley?
"As soon as I got told about it, I knew I was going to sign," he said. "It means everything, signing the new contract. It is a dream to have been playing for Everton all my life and today is a great thing for me.
"I am settled in at Everton, this is the club I love. I see it as my home, I never think of anything away from Goodison."
Everton have a golden opportunity to start the new season with three points against Leicester City. This news is going to shake the squad, however, so it's up to the leadership to get everybody refocused in time for the opener.
The club will hope the testing doesn't show any further damage that could cause Barkley an even longer period off the pitch. While he's out, a group probably led by Muhamed Besic will attempt to make up for his absence in the middle.