JOHN Carver says Papiss Demba Cisse’s operation was unavoidable – and he would have had a long spell out even if he had not been banned.
Cisse had a screw removed from his knee in March after picking up a seven-game suspension for spitting.
It has hurt us, but if he had not been suspended, he would have had the operation. We’d have lost him anyway.John Carver
And the Newcastle United striker – who fractured his kneecap a year ago – came off the bench in the club’s 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion last weekend after serving his ban.
Cisse is likely to be among the substitutes at Loftus Road this afternoon for relegation-threatened Newcastle’s game against Queens Park Rangers.
The 29-year-old scored the club’s last away goal – against Crystal Palace in February. Almost 500 goalless minutes have elapsed since then, and Cisse’s sooner-than-expected return has given the club a “huge lift”, according to head coach John Carver.
“He’s not 100 per cent,” said Carver. “He was supposed to be out 12-14 weeks, but he’s come back earlier than we ever thought.
“He ain’t got the limp anymore, and has had four weeks training. I didn’t play him in the Under-21s (against West Brom on Monday), because I thought a week’s training would be better.
“He has worked extremely hard. Whether he is ready to start the game, I don’t know. It’s trying to get that fine balance, because we know how important he can be.
“We could start him, but you’d then lose a substitute. I have to take everything into consideration.”
Cisse is the club’s leading scorer with 11 goals, despite having only made 10 Premier League starts.
“He gives the squad a huge lift,” added Carver. “He’s a natural goalscorer.
“We’ve not had many goals in training or in games of late, but when he comes back they start flowing. We have got a group of players where the bench is getting stronger.
“The team is getting stronger. Daryl Janmaat is back (from suspension).”
A “limping” Cisse scored in Newcastle’s 1-1 draw against Alan Pardew’s Palace on February 11.
Since the club’s last visit to London, Carver’s side have lost five successive games away from home.
“He had a pin in his knee then,” said Carver.
“It has hurt us, but if he had not been suspended, he would have had the operation.
“The two situations have gone side by side. We’d have lost him anyway.”