The Big Russian was withdrawn midway through the first half of Saturday's 0-0 draw with Espanyol, and Steve Clarke had seemed pretty worried by the incident. The manager told Get Reading after the game that...
"Pavel's is an injury he's been carrying since last season. We haven't managed to clear it up so that's a concern. It's something that's been there for a long time. We've tried one or two different things but he's not responded properly so that's a blow for us."
However, the Pog's injury troubles might not be quite as serious as we had all feared. In fact, he seems pretty positive about his chances of playing again soon, telling Russian site Championat that his estimated recovery time is 10 days, as the injury isn't that serious.
Nonetheless, talking about the season opener at Birmingham, he mentions that it's evident he'll miss that game. He seems frustrated by being forced off against Espanyol, saying that he wanted to help the team to secure the first points of the 2015/16 campaign.
Comparing the quotes from Steve Clarke and Pavel Pogrebnyak, it's odd to see them clash so blatantly. The impression given by the former is a pretty worrying one. The hint of long term problems is the last thing Reading fans want to hear, especially considering the mayhem that injuries caused last season. With that in mind, the update from the Pog can, for me, be interpreted in two ways.
On the one hand, it may just be that the inital assessment from Steve Clarke is no longer seen as accurate. The worries that forced Pogrebnyak to retire from the Espanyol game early could genuinely have evaporated. The less rosy outlook is that the striker actually will be sidelined for a decent length of time, as Clarke had suggested. Why Pogrebnyak would then say this may just be a dual case of frustration and eagerness. That's frustration at seeing himself forcibly substituted a week before the return of competitive football, and eagerness to get back on the pitch.