Gilberto could miss season
By Mark Kendall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Arsenal have been rocked by the news Gilberto Silva could miss the rest of the season.Arsenal have been rocked by the news that Gilberto Silva could be sidelined for the rest of the season.
The midfielder has been out of action since Arsenal's 2-2 home draw with Bolton in September due to a back injury.
It was initially hoped that the Brazil international would be back in action before the New Year, but boss Arsene Wenger revealed Gilberto was not progressing as expected and could now miss the rest of the campaign.
"It's not good news on Gilberto," Wenger declared.
"We had a check on his back and it looked like the bone has not grown and the distance of the fracture is still exactly the same.
"We have decided to rest him six more weeks and have sent him back to Brazil on holiday.
"He has to rest completely, and when he comes back it is not sure he will be capable of playing.
"We don't think it is (career-threatening), but it is season-threatening.
"If in the next six weeks, the bone has not completely grown together, we have to give him three months more."
The Gunners chief went on to rule out the possibility of surgery for the South American, but admitted his resources in central midfield were looking very stretched.
Gilberto's international colleague Edu will be sidelined for at least another three weeks with a broken toe, while summer signing Mathieu Flamini is also currently unavailable due to a knee complaint.
It means that Wenger will have to rely on teenager Francesc Fabregas alongside Patrick Vieira for the time being, a situation he admits is far from ideal given the Spaniard's age.
"In central midfield, we are very short," he continued.
"He (Fabregas) played on Saturday, he played on Tuesday (for Spain's Under-21s against England), he'll play tomorrow, on Wednesday and on Sunday - and he's 17. It is not ideal."