Liam Cooper was undergoing further treatment yesterday with Leeds United waiting to discover how long their captain faces on the sidelines.
The centre-back was sent for more specialist analysis after limping out of Saturday’s win at Sheffield United with a knee injury which will force him to miss the busy Christmas period.
Leeds are yet to confirm the extent of the damage suffered by Cooper, who was hurt off the ball just 20 minutes into the Yorkshire derby, but head coach Marcelo Bielsa is planning without him for this weekend’s clash with Queens Park Rangers.
Bielsa described Cooper’s injury as “serious” but was able to rule out ligament damage after Saturday’s 1-0 victory, something which would have threatened to end Cooper’s season.
The defender was in visible pain as he received treatment on the pitch at Bramall Lane and limped heavily down the tunnel with the help of two of the club’s physios. United have been seeking to establish if Cooper will require surgery and a verdict on his condition is expected to come in the next 24 hours. Bielsa has been juggling injuries to his defenders throughout the Championship season and Luke Ayling and Gaetano Berardi are already on the list of longer-term absentees.
United’s head of medicine and performance, Rob Price, admitted on Monday that Berardi is yet to be given a return date from a badly torn hamstring but said Ayling, who injured a knee against Nottingham Forest in October, was “doing really well”.
Neither player will be available until the new year. Striker Patrick Bamford, however, has revealed that he hopes to make his comeback from knee ligament damage during the Christmas schedule.
Bamford – Leeds’ £7m summer signing from Middlesbrough – has not played since September but he said: “The Christmas period in the Championship is absolute mayhem so it’ll be nice. I hope the lads are happy to have me back.”