PAPISS Demba Cisse’s enforced absence from the Newcastle United reckoning has given the club the chance to perform ‘maintenance’ on his troublesome knee.
The striker had a screw inserted in his knee when he underwent surgery on a fractured patella last May.
Newcastle knew the screw would have to be removed at some stage, and when Cisse was banned for seven games for spitting at Manchester United defender Jonny Evans last week, they took the opportunity to do it now.
Head coach John Carver said: “Papiss Cisse has got a problem with his knee, but it’s not a big problem.
“It was something that we were going to have to do anyway, maintenance that was going to be needed.
“He had a screw in his knee and they have just removed the screw, so that’s been sorted.
“I don’t think his knee is a big issue, and I have said that from day one, really.
“We have always used this word ‘maintenance’, and all it is is maintenance with him, just making sure that everything is right.
“There was a part of the process where we were going to have to do this maintenance on his knee anyway because of the operation he had in the past.
“If anything good has come out of it, it’s actually the fact that we can do it now, in a strange way.”
Cisse will be unavailable until May due to the spitting incident with Evans, and Carver has admitted he could not defend the 29-year-old.
He added: “What he did was wrong, first of all, but it’s very difficult to act on a situation when somebody has actually done that to you, and until somebody actually does it to you, you don’t know how you would react.
“I think I know how I would react, and I don’t think I would have spat in somebody’s face.
“Everybody is different, aren’t they? Let’s be honest, everybody is different, so I can’t get inside of Papiss’ head and say how he should have reacted.
“I really don’t know because it was an unsavoury situation, wasn’t it? Let’s be honest.”
Cisse has been linked with a move away from St James’s Park over recent transfer windows, but Carver insists he is not thinking about a potential departure for the Senegalese frontman.
When asked about the player’s long-term future, Carver said: “It’s a difficult question to answer because I’m only thinking about the now, and I haven’t got him for seven games.
“But the fact is he scores goals. It’s his goal ratio that we were talking about just before this.
“He’s up there with the best, so he is going to be a miss, there’s no danger of that.
“Any team would miss their top goalscorer. But we have got to deal with it.”