Manchester United defender Phil Jones could miss another four matches with the thrombosis issue that put him out of the Premier League opener against Tottenham Hotspur. The England international was diagnosed with a blood clot in his calf by club doctor Steve McNally and is expected to be out of action for at least three weeks.
That puts his participation in the Red Devils' next four matches in doubt, with Louis van Gaal's side to face Aston Villa, Club Brugge twice and Newcastle United by Wednesday 26 August. It will also be a race against time to be fit for the clash against Swansea four days later.
Van Gaal was just pleased such a serious issue was found so quickly by his medical team and paid tribute to the work of McNally for spotting the problem. "It was very peculiar because he had tightness in his calf the whole week and he kept training, but we have a very good doctor I think because this doctor discovered a minor thrombosis," he said following his side's 1-0 win over Spurs, according to the Daily Mail.
"We don't take the risk so we went to a specialist at the hospital for a second opinion. The specialist said we have a new medical treatment and we have to keep him out for three weeks and watch him."
In the absence of Jones, Chris Smalling and Daley Blind impressed at the heart of defence, helping debutant Sergio Romero keep a clean sheet against Harry Kane and co. The versatile Dutchman provides Van Gaal with another option at centre-back when required, and the United boss insists he does not need to add another player in the position despite Jones's injury.
However, if the right calibre of player becomes available, then Van Gaal would not hesitate to try and strengthen his squad further. He said: "We have three centre-backs. We have [Paddy] McNair, Jones and Smalling, but if he is much better than them then it is possible. We go for the best players and it has to be possible."