Leeds United could be without Kalvin Phillips until mid-March as he recovers from a calf injury, according to Noel Whelan.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds striker suggested it would take “three to four weeks” for the midfielder to get back to full fitness after going off late in the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace earlier this month.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Thursday, as quoted by Leeds Live, Marcelo Bielsa admitted he could not give a date for when the 25-year-old may return from his calf injury.
A four-week layoff would see Phillips miss the Whites’ games against Southampton, Aston Villa and West Ham, having already missed the clashes away to Arsenal and Wolves.
The homegrown star also missed three matches earlier in the season as a result of a shoulder injury.
Whelan admitted losing the midfielder was a “huge blow” for Bielsa and suggested Leeds would have to cope a little while longer without him.
Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “Well, I think we’re looking at around about three to four-week mark since he did it.
“We’re still looking at probably another couple of weeks, I would have thought, with the calf injury and muscle problem, it doesn’t fix overnight so these things take a little bit of time.
“You think about the pressure that’s put through the calf as well in terms of running and stopping, he’s got to be right, you know we can’t rush these sort of injuries at all or else you’re going to be further setback.
“It’s a huge blow, there’s no doubt about that, because I think we need that kind of physicality within our side
“Losing Kalvin and not having him in that side, I think we could see last week (v Arsenal), especially in the first half, how difficult it was to get to grips without Kalvin.”