The 27-year-old central defender has had a two-month lay-off with a hamstring problem . and we no sooner get him back, then he breaks down.
His appearance record since his debut, and they include ALL fixtures, not just Premiership games:-
2012/2013 13 (2) 2011/2012 14 (1) 2010/2011 12 (2) 2009/2010 23 (0) 2008/2009 27 (2) 2007/2008 34 (2) 2006/2007 41 (1) 2005/2006 13 (0) 2004/2005 17 (5) 2003/2004 7 (1)
Only in 2006/2007 was he as regular as anyone else in the team. We played 57 games that season and he played in 27 Premiership games.
However, his partnership with captain Fabricio Coloccini at the heart of the Magpies' defence this season has been a key feature of their marked improvement.
Alan Pardew: "He's an outstanding player.
"The only down-side has been the injuries, that's where you have to slightly have a disappointment with him, that he's just not played enough games in his career here.
"I am very, very conscious, with him and with my staff, that we protect him and try to give him a different regime where hopefully we can keep him fit - because when he is fit, there are not many better."
Source: Newcastle United Mad