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AFC Bournemouth: Matt Ritchie rocked by another injury setback
Ritchie, who has been sidelined since the start of pre-season, appeared to be on the mend after stepping up his rehabilitation during the past few weeks.
But the 23-year-old winger was rocked after suffering another setback earlier this week, prompting the Cherries medical team to reconsider his options.
Ritchie, who played a key role in the latter stages of the club’s promotion, has not featured since initially feeling discomfort in his thigh during Cherries’ friendly against FC Zurich at the start of July. Cherries manager Howe told the Daily Echo: “Matt has had a setback so we are not sure where he stands at the moment.
“He was making good progress but just felt a different area in his thigh so he is not close to returning now and it is a big blow to us.
“We will possibly look to take him abroad to get the top people we can find to look at him because he is such a big player for us, as they all are, and we want to get everybody fit.
“We are stretched at the moment so the fact we are getting some good results in spite of the injury situation is encouraging.
“But we want to get everybody fit as soon as possible so we may look, not just with Matt but with other players as well, to try to get them the best possible treatment we can find.
“There are different specialists for different injuries so we need to identify the best people for our players. I have been there myself and it is incredibly frustrating when you are injured. If there are things we can do to help then we need to try.”
Howe also admitted Charlie Daniels’s heel complaint was becoming a concern after the defender had been forced off during the midweek win over Barnsley.
Left-back Daniels has been troubled by a condition known as plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the ligament that surrounds the heel.
A common ailment, Steve Fletcher once described it as the “most frustrating” injury of his career, while Shaun Maher, another ex-Cherries player, was plagued by the problem for two years.
Howe, speaking to the Echo yesterday, said: “Charlie went to see a specialist yesterday and we are hopeful he is not too bad. But it is a very difficult one to read and, unfortunately, he broke down on Tuesday.
“It is difficult to know how he will react in preparation for Saturday and for the following games. He is going to be a big doubt.”
Howe, who is again expected to be without injured trio Harry Arter, Andrew Surman and Mohamed Coulibaly against Boro, also described Shaun MacDonald as a “big doubt” due to a hip injury and a dead leg.
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