STEVE Bruce’s first job today will once again have been to check on his treatment room, after the breakdowns of Titus Bramble and Fraizer Campbell in training sparked fears that Sunderland’s injury crisis might continue right up until the end of the season.
The Black Cats’ manager is yet to discover the full extent of the knocks, but it could be that both players have kicked their last ball of the 2010/11 campaign.
And if that’s the case, then the Wearsiders’ hopes of a storming end to the season might have gone with them.
Bramble has been playing with a calf injury for some time, but, after the discomfort worsened, the medical advice is that he should not play until the pain lessens. If that does not cure the problem then an operation might be needed.
Campbell has twisted the same knee in which he suffered cruciate ligament damage back in August and now faces an anxious wait to see whether its a minor setback or a more serious problem.
And that’s exactly the sort of news Bruce didn’t need in the middle of by far the club’s worst run of form of the season.
Just one point has been taken from the last 21 and Sunderland haven’t won a game since January and much of the blame for that has been heaped on the Black Cats’ genuinely lengthy injury list – a list which looked as though it was about to all but clear up until the Bramble and Campbell bombshells.
Bruce revealed: “Bramble had an operation a few months ago and he has never felt quite comfortable. He had a scan the other day and he could miss the rest of the season.
“We’ve been told he needs complete rest at the moment.
“As for Fraizer, he twisted his knee yesterday in training and he will have a scan.
“We are keeping our fingers crossed that it is not a recurrence of the knee injury that he had in August, but he, too, could be out for some time if the medical results aren’t good.”
Bramble’s absence yesterday saw a half-fit Michael Turner pressed into service in the 5-0 drubbing at Manchester City, while Campbell – pencilled in for a place on the bench after impressing on the comeback trail – was unavailable to supplement an attack which has drawn a blank in its last five outings.