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Dries Mertens likely out for Europa League with thigh strain

Mertens is unlikely to make the trip to Denmark to face Midtjylland, but there's good news: his injury isn't as bad as first feared.

Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

Dries Mertens will likely not play for Napoli on Thursday when they head to Denmark to face FC Midtjylland, but the news isn't all bad: he should be fine not long after.

The Belgian had to leave the match against Fiorentina just 20 minutes after coming on as a sub and assisting Gonzalo Higuain on the game-winning goal. He took a few pretty hard shots and it sounded like he took another right before having to come off -- it was off-camera, but the commentator mentioned him being on the receiving end of a bodycheck -- but the diagnosis for his injury isn't nearly as bad as feared. According to Napoli's team doctors, Mertens has a "strong thigh strain."

That will doubtlessly hold him out of the trip to Denmark, but Napoli can live without him for a match. He'll likely be a slight doubt this weekend against Chievo, but should be fully available again not long after. Perhaps this could mean a bit more playing time for Manolo Gabbiadini in the meantime, though, which would hardly be a bad thing for Napoli.

Just get better soon, Mertens. We need you healthy and firing.