Phil Jones suffered an ankle injury during Manchester United's Jan. 2 win over Swansea. It is unclear when the centre-back will return.
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Van Gaal Comments on Jones Recovery
Thursday, Jan. 28
"I cannot say [if he is close]," United boss Louis van Gaal said. "Every time I make a remark about injuries it is always difficult because injuries have developments and you have to wait and see."
No Luck for Injury-Prone Jones
This injury is just the latest in a long line of blows for the England international, whose career has failed to progress as expected due to a barrage of fitness issues.
He missed a big chunk of time earlier this season and has suffered at least two serious setbacks in every campaign since the 2012-13 season, as reported by Transfermarkt.
Other defenders such as Chris Smalling, Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo have stepped up in his absence during the early parts of the 2015-16 season, and United's defence has more than held its own, so Van Gaal has plenty of ways to deal with this latest problem.
From a tactical point of view, little has changed for the Red Devils, who have managed to overcome injuries to the likes of Luke Shaw and Jones throughout the season.
The bigger question is what will happen with Jones moving forward. For all his talent, he simply can't stay healthy, and you can't rely on a star defender if he spends significant chunks of every season on the sidelines.
With others such as Smalling and Blind stepping up and young options Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett set to play bigger roles in the future, Jones' chances of becoming an automatic starter seem to be diminishing every day.