HATEM Ben Arfa is out of Newcastle’s tour of the United States.
And the Magpies face an anxious wait to discover the extent of the winger’s ankle injury.
Ben Arfa, playing only his second game back after recovering from a horrific double leg break suffered last October, was caught by crude Roger Espinoza challenge in the first half of last night’s goalless draw against Sporting Kansas City.
The 24-year-old Frenchman was stretchered off and taken to hospital for a “precautionary x-ray”.
A statement read: “Hatem sustained an injury to his left ankle in a tackle during the game, and went to a local hospital for a precautionary x-ray.
“Consequently, he will be leaving the club’s tour, and the injury will be reassessed over the next 48 hours.”
Newcastle are hopeful Ben Arfa suffered nothing more than a twisted ankle, though they are taking no chances, and he was today flown back to England, while his team-mates travelled to Florida ahead of Saturday’s game against Orlando City.
Speaking after immediately after the game, boss Alan Pardew was hopeful that the injury wasn’t serious.
He said: “There was shock at the time, and when you have gone through what he went through last year, that’s understandable.
“His demons will be there for a while. We think he’s fine.
“We sent him for a precautionary x-ray, but we think he’s OK.”
The loss of Ben Arfa was a blow to Newcastle, who had started brightly, and Pardew added: “For us, losing Hatem was a bit of a blow – it disrupted us a bit.
“We had a disrupted pattern to our play, but overall as an exercise I was pleased with our sharpness and that we got a clean sheet.”
Midfielder Dan Gosling also suffered a head wound early in the game, but the former Everton man was able to return to the field after a small gash above his left eye was stitched.
On the game itself, Pardew reflected: “I thought Jeferson was a problem for us in the first half.
“He has got a real talent, and he probably was a catalyst for the good things they did.
“I felt the quality of the opposition didn’t surprise me because we have John Carver here who was manager in the Major League Soccer with Toronto, and he told us what it would be like.
“We were familiar with the standard.
“But it did surprise some of our players.
“It doesn’t matter what you say to players, sometimes they can’t accept they are playing on a level playing field against an MLS team.
“One or two of them got a bit of a shock.
“For us, it was a great work-out, and I can see Kansas having a good end to the season.”
SPORTING KANSAS CITY: Kronberg, Myers (Harrington 46), Besler, Cesar (Cyrus 46), Sinovic (Ellis 62), Kamra (Diop 46), Jeferson (Sassano 46), Zusi (Stojcez 46), Espinoza (Joseph 46), Bravo (Sapong 46), Bunbury (Saad 62).
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Krul; R Taylor, S Taylor, Coloccini, Gutierrez; Lovenkrands (Abeid 46), Gosling (Simpson 63), Tiote (Smith 46), Marveaux (Tavernier 46); Ben Arfa (Ameobi 35); Ba (Best 72). Subs not used: Harper, Forster.