Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez could miss as much as three weeks after picking up a thigh tear while training with the Chile national team ahead of their World Cup qualifying double-header against Colombia and Uruguay. The 27-year-old has been ruled out of the opening match in Barranquilla on Thursday [10 November] but according to reports in his homeland is ready to go through the pain barrier to play the second match in Santiago next week.
Chilean newspaper El Mercurio understands Sanchez is prepared to play for the Copa America champions following a scan on the injury, which showed a nine millimetre quadriceps tear but has been described by sources inside the national team as "superficial". Sanchez is naturally a key member of Juan Antonio Pizzi's side, who are currently outside of the automatic qualifying places for Russia 2018.
Sanchez has scored eight goals and made seven assists in 15 appearances for Arsenal this season, but would be risking his fitness for the resumption of their Premier League campaign at Manchester United on 19 November. According to a leading doctor, Sanchez could miss as much as three weeks if reports regarding his condition prove accurate which could see him miss the remainder of the month.
"There is some debate over how to manage these sorts of injuries," Dr Mario Vera told El Mercurio. "The traditionalists would say that something like this takes three weeks, but a modernist would say that their rehab could fix it sooner. One thing is clear: he won't be fit [if he plays] and there could be recurrences.
"In the case of Alexis, without knowing all of the details, it's probable that they get him ready to play in the game against Uruguay but he will go onto that field injured. The muscle will be more fragile, he would certainly have to play with medication to aid the symptoms."
The Chile national team confirmed on Tuesday [8 November] that Sanchez had pulled out of training with a knock, news which will have alerted Arsenal over the fitness of their premier marksman. Those close to Sanchez have claimed the play is untroubled by the issue, but manager Arsene Wenger will undoubtedly be sweating over his condition.
The French coach's mood will not have been helped by a concern over the fitness of Hector Bellerin, who missed training with the Spain Under-21s on Wednesday [9 November]. The 21-year-old limped out of a session 24 hours earlier but is still expected to travel with the rest of the squad for the European Championship 2017 qualifier against Austria on Friday [11 November].