Raul Albiol broke down very early in Napoli’s Champions League match, needing to be substituted out just 11 minutes in. Now that the match is over, Napoli have checked him out and released the initial diagnosis: a pulled left hamstring.
The news isn’t great, but it could be a lot worse. Napoli have a match away to Atalanta this weekend, and then the international break gives them a week off before the Derby del Sole against Roma in two and a half weeks. Napoli can easily afford to let Albiol rest and heal for this weekend’s match, with Nikola Maksimovic largely acquitting himself well in his emergency relief role against Benfica.
The one concern with Maksimovic, though, is that he wore down about an hour into his time on the pitch, contributing some to Benfica’s first goal. That’s not a huge shock — he’s only been training with Napoli for a few weeks, and had been holding out from Torino’s pre-season training for weeks before that. He’s maybe just now starting to get to the fitness levels most of the squad had at the start of the season, which is a big part of why Maurizio Sarri has said Maksimovic hadn’t played yet.
But playing against Benfica will help that, and starting against Atalanta this weekend will help even more. If Maksimovic can’t finish that match, Lorenzo Tonelli has been healthy enough to be on the bench in Napoli’s recent league matches, so he could be available to finish the match if need be.
Napoli have the ability to survive this injury and give Albiol the time he needs to heal up. Hopefully he’ll be ready in time for the Derby against Roma, but if he’s not it won’t be the end of the world.