Should PSG shut down Nuno Mendes after injury setback?
After having some health problems in the past few weeks and missing time on the field, Nuno Mendes finally returned to the pitch of the Parc des Princes on Sunday coming off the bench. His presence on the ground didn't last much, though, with the Portugal international leaving the defeat against Lorient (1-3) earlier than the final whistle.
A surprise substitute at kick-off a week after being left off the squad facing Angers (2-1) due to muscle pain, Nuno Mendes was most probably still not fully fit to play last Sunday.
No matter what, and although Mendes started the MD33 game against Lorient sitting on the bench, he entered the pitch for the last half hour in place of the mediocre Juan Bernat.
The Portugal international couldn't complete the match and was forced out of the pitch just before the final whistle when PSG had already made all of their changes, leaving the side with nine players as Achraf Hakimi got sent off by the 20th minute.
The 20-year-old left-back, who left the pitch in visible pain and discomfort, was reportedly suffering from a relapse and a setback of the same muscular issues he had experienced earlier this season, something Christophe Galtier confirmed in his post-game press conference.
"We are losing Nuno Mendes to a muscular injury," Galtier said. As of this writing, there is no confirmation from PSG about the extent of Mendes' injury, although the earliest information points toward a multi-week absence, with the possibility of the injury turning into a season-ending one.
Nuno Mendes already returned from the World Cup banged up and PSG forced a quick recovery so he could be present through the games part of the second half of their campaign, most pressingly the Champions League matchup against Bayern Munich.
Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but it made no sense back then (PSG were never qualifying, let's be honest for a minute) and it would make even less sense to keep forcing the issue when the Ligue 1 title is pretty much in PSG's bag already unless they implode (which can happen).
Yes, PSG will have to go and win at Troyes next Sunday without Mendes and without Hakimi, their starting wing-backs on each side of the pitch.
With just five games remaining on the schedule and the matchup against Troyes serving as a good test, it'd be reasonable for Galtier to just come up with an alternative and not hurt the team anymore for the remainder of the season.
Is this horrible news for Galtier? Yes. Would it be worse for PSG going forward and after Galtier leaves the organization in a month if any other player suffers a long-term injury? You bet.