Manchester City assistant manager Brian Kidd has described reports that Mario Balotelli is set to be out of action until the end of November as nonsense.
After arriving at Eastlands from Inter Milan, Balotelli's Â£24million move to the Premier League has so far fallen flat. Injured on a goalscoring debut against Timisoara last month, Balotelli was sent back to Italy to begin rehabilitation after a knee operation that City hoped he would be back from within a couple of months.
Yet sources in Italy earlier this week claimed the damage was more extensive than City initially thought, but Kidd said: "There is nothing sinister in this. Mario has had the operation, he has come back and is now on with his rehabilitation. Wherever these other rumours are coming from, they are nonsense."
Balotelli was also up for discussion by manager Roberto Mancini who dismissed as 'a joke' claims the controversial youngster, who has attracted more than his fair share of negative headlines in the past, was waving an AC Milan shirt from his hospital bed following the knee operation.
It seems bizarre that someone who has played such a minimal part in City's season should be of such interest, although it emphasises just what a news story the big-spending Eastlands outfit have become.
With Emmanuel Adebayor not risked for the Europa League opener with Salzburg in Austria on Thursday evening, Mancini has just two fit forwards in skipper Carlos Tevez and Brazilian Jo, who was thought to be surplus to requirements with the Blues but now has a key role to play.
"Jo is a good player," stressed Mancini.
"I hope if he plays on Thursday he will score. He has a good attitude and technically is very good as well.
"He is important to us."