Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has admitted that Hatem Ben Arfa could be out until May as he bids to recover from his double leg break.
Ben Arfa, whose loan from Marseille was made permanent in January, has not played for Newcastle since sustaining the injury in the 2-1 defeat at Manchester City in October, but Pardew said in February that the player had “every chance of playing against Wolves” on April 2.
However, Pardew has now said Ben Arfa now has little prospect of playing in that game.
“I am going to protect him,” he said. “I can’t just throw him in. The Wolves game sounds optimistic, even though I’m sure, in his own mind, he has set that as his target.
“He is still very much in the process of recovery and has a long road back. It may even take us into May. To break both bones in the shin is tough – not just physically, but mentally, too.”