Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger faces an anxious wait to understand the real impact of Laurent Koscielny's injury but has revealed the centre-back's initial prognosis is better than originally feared.
The 32-year-old was forced off after just 11 minutes on Thursday evening as the Gunners overcame AC Milan 3-1 - 5-1 on aggregate - to ease themselves into the Europa League last eight.
We have physically broken Koscielny. Guy carried us for years. What a servant, gutted for him.— Paddy (@VieiraPaddy) March 15, 2018
However, despite the successful night at the Emirates Stadium, the French manager is now sweating on his fellow countryman's diagnosis, although, when speaking to reporters after the game, the 68-year-old remained relatively positive surrounding the issue.
"He got a kick on his back, we don’t think it’s bad", Wenger said. "But he cramped up and couldn’t go on."
Koscielny will be afforded a respite over the coming weeks regardless of his time on the sidelines, with Arsenal's next clash not until they welcome Stoke City on April 1 due to exiting the FA Cup earlier in the term.
Despite the north Londoners defensive frailties this term, the veteran remains an important figure in his side's nucleus and is still regarded as the 'go-to man' within the club's backline ranks.
Laurent Koscielny going down as Arsenal's greatest CB. So, so good. What a performance so far.— Dostoyevsky (@KozielloEN) March 8, 2018
However, should the experienced centre-back, who led the Gunners to FA Cup glory in 2014, 2015 and 2017, be ruled out for an extended period, Callum Chambers, who featured from the substitutes' bench in his teammate's absence on Thursday, is expected to be called upon.
Although the 23-year-old has recorded just five top-flight starts this season, his comfortable display against an in-form AC Milan will leave Arsenal fans with some comfort.