Barcelona's Andres Iniesta to miss 6-8 weeks with knee injury
BARCELONA -- Barcelona's fitness woes continued on Saturday as Andres Iniesta suffered a knee injury in the first half of their La Liga game against Valencia.
The midfielder has damage to the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee and Barcelona confirmed after initial tests that he will be sidelined for six to eight weeks.
Iniesta hit the ground after a firm challenge from Enzo Perez and immediately signalled for a stretcher.
After being attended to by the club's medical team for several minutes, he was carried off the pitch at the Mestalla in tears.
Doesn't look good. Iniesta knew straight away -- as soon as the Enzo Perez challenge went in he grimaced and signalled to the bench.- Sam Marsden (@samuelmarsden) October 22, 2016
Barca boss Luis Enrique appeared furious with the challenge from Perez, which did not draw a booking from referee Undiano Mallenco, and he told reporters after the 3-2 win: "The worst thing [about the game] was the injury to Andres.
"It's a moment we've it seen clearly, because of how close we were, and we saw immediately that the player was injured and there was no yellow card. We'll see how long he's out for tomorrow, but yes, it will be a while. It's a serious injury."
Iniesta later expressed his relief at the diagnosis on social media and that the injury was not more serious.
"It's not an easy moment, it'll be a few weeks but it could have been a lot worse...," he wrote on his official Twitter page. "I want to thank you for all the messages of support! Hugs!
No es un momento fácil, serán unas semanas pero podía haber sido mucho peor... Quería agradeceros los mensajes de ánimo! Un abrazo!- Andrés Iniesta (@andresiniesta8) October 22, 2016
Barca midfielder Sergio Busquets added: "Andres' injury is a shame. It's a dangerous place to get a knock and it can leave you out for several weeks. We hope he can recover as soon as possible."
The Catalan club are already without defenders Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba for the coming weeks, while Arda Turan and Rafinha pulled out of the trip to Valencia with injuries sustained in training.
Backup goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen is also injured and Enrique had to delve into the B team to complete his squad this weekend, with Carles Alena called up.
The club take on Granada next in the league before a trip to Manchester City in the Champions League on Nov. 1.
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.