Hatem Ben Arfa Receives X-Ray on Ankle, Will Leave US Tour

Hatem Ben Arfa left Newcastle's friendly against Sporting Kansas City in the first half after an apparent ankle injury as midfielder Roger Espinoza came in with a hard and late challenge.  According to the Newcastle United Official Site, he was taken for a precautionary X-ray (the results are not known at this time, though beat writer Lee Ryder is reporting that the club doctor proclaimed the injury "not serious") and will leave the three-city tour of the United States early, again as a precaution.

There was no radio or TV coverage of the game, so there was plenty of confusion surrounding the injury.  At one point, it was speculated that Ben Arfa had been taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital, even though he was sitting in the dressing room at the time.  I was at the game, and while I don't have any insider knowledge, I did have a good view of the play.  I posted my perspective about it in the game thread here, and to save you the trouble of looking it up, I've reproduced that comment here:

I was in a pretty good position to see the whole thing, it was on our side of the pitch. Ben Arfa was playing the counter and tried to hit someone (Marveaux? Can’t remember) on a through ball, then the challenge came in late and from behind. HBA went down holding his left ankle and grimacing. He was down for a couple of seconds, then tried to get up on it, but it was clear that it wouldn’t support his weight, so he rolled on his back and held his face as though he were frustrated. He tried to get up once more as the ref carded Espinoza, then lay on his back until the stretcher came. He actually sat up as they were carrying him off and Espinoza came over and they exchanged a couple of amicable words. It was hard to see anything after that, and they took him straight to the locker room.

 

The club says that they want to monitor his ankle for at least the next 48 hours, so that time will surely be tring for Newcastle supporters.   Ben Arfa has not received any real game action since having both the tibia and fibula in his left leg broken by Nigel De Jong back in October.  The road to recovery has been a long one, with Ben Arfa even stating in an interview that amputation was on the table after he contracted an infection. 

Before this most recent injury, he was doing quite well in the midfield and at one point weaved through several defenders before hitting the post at close range on his way past the goal.  Alan Pardew has been on the record as wanting HBA to play a true #10 role behind the striker this season, and any serious injury would obviously throw a huge monkey wrench into those plans.  We will continue to monitor this situation and pass along any and all updates on Hatem Ben Arfa's condition.

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