HATEM Ben Arfa is out of Newcastle United’s season-opener against Arsenal – and the derby against Sunderland.
The winger suffered an ankle injury against Sporting Kansas City last week.
And after a thorough assessment, SportMail understands that the club don’t expect Ben Arfa to return to training for another four weeks, with the 24-year-old having damaged some ligaments.
And that means he will miss Arsenal’s visit to St James’s Park on August 13, and the derby at the Stadium of Light a week later.
However, manager Alan Pardew is still relieved the damage wasn’t more serious, the leg having been the same one he broke last October.
More immediately, captain Fabricio Coloccini and midfielder Cheik Tiote are doubts for tonight’s final tour game against Columbus Crew with slight problems.
And Ryan Taylor – who suffered a groin injury in Saturday’s defeat at Orlando City – definitely won’t feature.
“Coloccini’s a slight doubt, as is Cheik,” Pardew said. “Ryan Taylor’s definitely out, but I’m going to play a strong side.”
Meanwhile, teenage left-back Paul Dummett – who had been in Holland with Peter Beardsley’s reserve team squad – is hoping to be involved against Columbus Crew after joining up with the squad.
“It was weird – one minute I was going shopping on a team day out ,then the next thing the bus was stopped and I was pulled out and told to pack,” said the 19-year-old.
“It’ll be an experience – I was buzzing when I heard.
“It’s a long way, but worth it to play for Newcastle United.
“I’m ready to play. I slept a lot on the flight, and I’m in condition as I played in Holland.”
SEE Tuesday’s Mail for more Newcastle news