Tottenham Hotspur’s talismanic striker Harry Kane is injured. Pretty much everyone and their grandmother knows that by now — he hobbled off the field and down the tunnel after rolling his ankle in a sideline challenge for the ball with Manchester City’s Fabian Delph in the second half of Spurs’ 1-0 Champions League victory on Tuesday.
Most people assumed that this was it for Kane — he’s done for the season, game over, see you in August, Harry. And that could very well be the case, but his manager Mauricio Pochettino thinks there’s an outside chance that Kane could still play football this season... if Spurs make it to the Champions League final.
“He feels sad and disappointed like everyone at the club. Of course it is a tough moment for him, tough moment for the team, tough moment for us. I was speaking to him before and we need to assess every day to properly answer to see when he can come back to train with the team. At the moment it is impossible to give a date. It is a similar injury to the one he suffered last time against Manchester United.
“We have five weeks. If we are into the final of the Champions League, maybe he will play but we’ll see. We need to assess him but of course he is not in a great place, which is normal after a few days.”
That sounds hopeful, but we need to seriously temper our expectations. Harry clearly has the healing factor of Wolverine, but it’s difficult to count on him returning for the Champions League final when the odds of even making the final are looking a little bleaker due to his absence. Spurs will need to find a way to hold off Manchester City at the Etihad — no mean feat — and also defeat the winner of Ajax-Juventus in the next round before that even becomes a remote possibility.
There’s also the question of whether they even SHOULD consider playing him, even if Spurs make it that far. Is the risk of plopping Kane into the team for his first game back after injury in what would definitely be the biggest match in Tottenham’s recent history be worth it? That’s a hypothetical question, but this whole scenario is pretty darn hypothetical.
The timing fits, though. The Champions League final is June 1 at the Wanda in Spain, which is [checks notes] seven weeks from tomorrow. Considering he returned from his last severe-looking ankle injury in just over a month, it seems possible that he could be back and match fit in time to beat Liverpool or Barcelona (probably) at Atletico Madrid’s stadium.
For the optimistic reader, tuck those Pochettino quotes under your hat for a while.