Per Mertesacker Injury Blow For Arsenal

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 11: Per Mertesacker of Arsenal is put on a stretcher as he is substituted after suffering an injury during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Arsenal at the Stadium of Light on February 11, 2012 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Torn ankle ligaments mean that Arsenal defender Per Mertasacker is unlikely to feature for the rest of the season.

German international Per Mertesacker will be out for an indefinite period after sustaining an ankle injury during Arsenal's 2-1 win against Sunderland last weekend. The 27-year-old, bought during the summer transfer widow as cover for an injury and mistake-prone Gunners back line, has been forced under the knife by the problem, and Arsene Wenger doesn't know when he's getting him back:

Unfortunately he has had surgery and we have lost him for a while. How long I don't know. He had reconstruction of his ligaments, so it will be long term.

Ligament reconstruction surgery is dicey business, and it appears unlikely that the big man will feature at all for the rest of the season. Fortunately, Arsenal are getting some positive news with the rest of the defence - Laurent Koscielny will not miss significant time after pulling up injured at the San Siro with what turned out to mostly be a case of I-don't-want-to-play-against-Zlatan-anymoritis, and right back Carl Jenkinson is returning to training to provide some cover for Bacary Sagna.

Despite events in Italy, where Arsenal suffered a humiliating 4-0 loss to AC Milan in midweek, the Gunners remain very much in the hunt for fourth place. Mertesacker is a blow there but with the rest of the defence more or less fit, things are looking reasonably positive.

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