Jules Kounde reportedly sidelined for at least a month

Jules Kounde during the match between Granada CF and FC Barcelona at Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes on October 08, 2023 in Granada, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)

The injury bug continues to bite Barcelona with center-back Jules Kounde joining the growing list of sidelines for the Catalan giants.

The center-back was forced off in the 2-2 draw against Granada after Gavi inadvertently fell onto Kounde’s leg in a play that was offside but allowed to continue.

He went down and punched the pitch in frustration but tried to walk it off and play through it. After leaving the pitch to be attended by the Barcelona medical staff, he did return. But he lasted only a couple of minute before he had to be taken out, replaced by Ronald Araújo.

The immediate sensations were that the injury wasn’t as bad as it looked with Xavi Hernandez stating that it “seemed Kounde is fine.”

However, tests done on the Frenchman revealed that he suffered a left MCL sprain.

While the club didn’t specify a recovery time, according to Sport’s Toni Juanmartí, he is going to be out around five weeks, all but ruling him out for El Clasico against Real Madrid.

Again, Kounde joins an injury list already including Pedri, Frenkie de Jong, Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski. To make things worse, these are all injuries to starting players. Barcelona have been able to pull off some results without some of them but it’s clear they’re a weaker team without them.

If there is a light at the end of the tunnel is Pedri should be back in time for the match against Real Madrid. Though unlikely to be fully match fit by that time. Raphinha is expected to be back following the international break. De Jong is ruled out and Lewandowski will be a doubt.

As mentioned, Araújo replaced Kounde so Barcelona have cover there with another highly-capable defender — albeit one who has proven to be injury prone.

Iñigo Martinez could be another option for Xavi in defense. The former Athletic Bilbao defender hasn’t looked sharp in his sparse minutes. Given the packed schedule following the break, he is likely to see more playing time and will need to improve on what he’s shown.

Despite having Araújo there, losing Kounde is a significant blow to Barcelona as he was having an impressive start to the season — his performance against Granada notwithstanding. Now they’ll have to make do without him for at least a month.