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Dries Mertens coming back from international duty early with injury

Exactly when Mertens got hurt seems to be up for debate, though.

David Ramos/Getty Images

International breaks only ever seem to bring bad news for clubs, and now Napoli have gotten bitten by it hard. Dries Mertens is coming back early from his time with Belgium because, sadly, he is injured. The exact nature of his injury is unknown beyond being a muscle tear, but what is known is that Belgium and Napoli are at odds as to when the injury occurred.

Napoli are insisting that Mertens was healthy when he left their Castel Volturno training facility, though he had been a slight doubt leading up to their match against Udinese before the break. Belgium's staff, however, claim that the "injury was detected right away," and that he had to have been injured before leaving Naples. There's a lot of finger pointing and blame-assigning going on, but the crux of the matter is this: Mertens is hurt, and he's going to be out for a little while.

The initial diagnosis being sent around was that he'd be out for 4-5 weeks, putting Mertens out essentially until the winter break, but more recent rests have a more favorable diagnosis. If the tear is less serious than initially believed, as the newer reports seem to indicate, Mertens could be back in 2-3 weeks. That would put his return in early December, giving Napoli a crucial piece of their attack back in time for that stretch run before the break.

Regardless of the when and the how and the why, we just hope Mertens gets healthy soon. Napoli need him, because they're a better team with him available and going strong, even if he's not starting every match. It's just a good thing that he isn't hurt because he suffered a horrible concussion like he did this time last year. It's the small things, really.