Roy Hodgson has described injuries to Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze and Marc Guehi as the “perfect storm” and bemoaned Crystal Palace’s “incredible bad luck.”
Eze suffered a hamstring injury that forced him off after scoring twice in last week’s 3-2 win over Sheffield United.
Olise also strained his hamstring in that game before being cleared by medical staff to appear from the bench against Brighton last weekend. But he suffered a serious hamstring injury within nine minutes of coming on, while Guehi was forced off with a knee injury.
Eze could miss up to three weeks, while it is understood Olise’s injury could keep him out for as long as two months.
Speaking ahead of Monday’s meeting with Chelsea, under-pressure Palace boss Roy Hodgson was fearful of how much the triple injury blow could weaken his side, who are already struggling after winning just twice in their last 14 games.
“We have lost all three of them, there is no question that it is a massive blow,” Hodgson said. “After the Sheffield United game, we were really thinking we were going to be OK now we have got these guys back. Just the opposite has occurred.
“Michael has picked up another serious injury which is absolutely devastating for him, for the club, for everyone really. Strangely enough, it was one of those situations where so many things went wrong when that could have gone right, but we don’t have hindsight.
“It was the perfect storm in every respect, but injuries do happen. That is the bottom line.
“For me, it’s another element of incredible bad luck we have suffered recently. To lose those two and Marc Guehi in the same period of time, and add to that [Cheick] Doucoure that we’ve had to come to terms with, that is four of the players most important to the club [that] we don’t have anymore.”
Hodgson is hopeful Guehi’s return could come sooner than Eze’s or Olise’s, but the Palace boss revealed Jesurun Rak-Sakyi’s recovery has suffered a setback.
He said: “Marc Guehi has jarred his knee. Guehi is just a question of time until that jarring passes and he gets full flexibility in his knee, so it doesn’t necessarily need to be a particularly long injury.
“But unfortunately the issue is with hamstrings. We suffered another one with Jes Rak-Sakyi. He has also managed to pick up another hamstring strain after doing so well to get back.
“Two weeks with us in training, but first time he went out to play a game with the Under-21s he pulled up after 15 minutes. So we’ve lost another important player there.”
Injuries could force Hodgson into handing increased game time to youngsters Naouirou Ahamada and Matheus Franca, who he has previously be reluctant to play.
The Palace boss added: “Franca has had more chances than Ahamada in actual fact. When they have come on in recent games, they have been sharp, they have been lively, and they have shown they understand what we are trying to do.
“There is no reason to suggest that they are not closer to the team [after injuries to Olise and Eze].”