Neymar will miss Paris Saint-Germain’s showdown at league leader Lille on Sunday because of a lingering ankle injury and likely won’t return to the lineup until next month.
The Brazil star was hurt deep into injury time in last Sunday’s 1-0 home loss to Lyon, when his left ankle buckled under a heavy tackle from Thiago Mendes and he was stretchered off the field.
Neymar sat out the midweek win against Lorient and PSG hoped to have him ready for Lille, but the club said on its website Saturday that there is still some bruising around the bone.
“He is expected to return to competition in January,” PSG said.
This also rules Neymar out of next Wednesday’s home game against Strasbourg, the last game before the mid-season winter break.
He has scored nine goals in 12 games overall this season, taking his tally to 79 in 97 games since joining three years ago from Barcelona for a world record 222 million euros ($272 million).
After the break, defending champion PSG resumes its league campaign on Jan. 6 with at Saint-Etienne.
PSG coach Thomas Tuchel has contended with injuries for much of the season, with holding midfielder Danilo Pereira, striker Mauro Icardi, winger Pablo Sarabia and center half Abdou Diallo all sidelined for Sunday’s match.
But he was boosted by the return of center half and captain Marquinhos, who has recovered from a right hip injury.
PSG, having lost four league games and two in the Champions League so far this season, needs Marquinhos to shore up a leaky defense. The shaky start has left PSG one point behind Lille, which has lost just once in 15 games.