Newcastle hoping Hatem Ben Arfa injury not serious

21 July 2011 02:37
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew faces an anxious wait for news on the extent of Hatem Ben Arfa's latest injury.

The 24-year-old Frenchman was heading back to Tyneside today after being carried off the pitch on a stretcher during the friendly clash with Sporting Kansas City, the first game of the club's US Tour.

Ben Arfa's left ankle was damaged in a challenge by Roger Espinoza half an hour into the contest and having undergone initial X-rays in America, the decision was taken to send him home for further assessment.

Worrying times: Newcastle's Hatem Ben Arfa is stretchered off after injuring his ankle

Speaking in the immediate aftermath of the game, Pardew did not appear unduly concerned over a player who missed all but four games of last season after suffering a double fracture in the same leg.

He said 'Hatem is going to have a few demons from that injury he had last year.

'I am hoping he's okay. We took him off as a precaution - he was a bit shocked by the challenge, I think - but we think he will be okay.'

The full extent of Ben Arfa's injury will not be known until the swelling has subsided, but both he and his manager will hope the initial indications were correct and that it is not serious.

Pardew considers the France international as one of his new signings having not been able to select him last season as he continued his recovery from his horrific injury. 

Crunch: Manchester City's Nigel De Jong (right) broke Ben Arfa's leg in two places last October

Ben Arfa broke both the tibia and fibula in his left leg in a challenge by Manchester City's Nigel de Jong on October 3, and underwent a length period of recovery and rehabilitation before he returned to the club towards the end of last season. 

He had been pencilled in as a possible support player to a lone striker for the new campaign, although the Magpies are still on the look-out for another specialist frontman with Paris St Germain's Mevlut Erding remaining in their sights after a protracted pursuit.

Should Ben Arfa face an extended period on the sidelines, that would increase the urgency of that mission with only Demba Ba so far having been added to a striking department which includes Shola Ameobi and Peter Lovenkrands, but also Leon Best and Nile Ranger who have both been told they can leave.

Ben Arfa's misfortune, coupled with the visa problems which meant Joey Barton, Yohan Cabaye and Ranger were unable to make the trans-Atlantic trip, has left Pardew with a depleted squad. 

New faces: Alan Pardew gave United debuts to Sylvain Marveaux and Demba Ba

His options were reduced further for last night's game when Jose Enrique, whose future on Tyneside remains extremely uncertain, was ruled out by a hamstring problem, while midfielder Haris Vuckic also sat out.

Newcastle are back in action early on Sunday morning when they play Orlando City after a tough first outing - they drew 0-0 in Kansas in searing heat.

Pardew said: 'It was really, really hot. It's probably hard to understand if you are sitting at home in Newcastle just how hot it was.

'The impact on us was that it made us look a little bit lethargic and heavy-legged.

'We have worked them hard this week, but the opposition were good opposition, and therefore it was a decent result for us.'

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Source: Daily_Mail