Major injury blows for on-loan Norwich City duo

Norwich City striker Nelson Oliveira is wearing a protective mask at the moment due to facial injuri

Norwich City striker Nelson Oliveira is wearing a protective mask at the moment due to facial injuries suffered in action for loan club Reading Picture: Mike Egerton/PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Norwich City loanees Nelson Oliveira and Steven Naismith have both suffered major injury blows.

Oliveira has been on something of a roller-coaster ride since joining the relegation battle at Reading in January, as he looked to recover form ahead of a potential permanent exit from Norwich in the summer – but could now be out injured for four weeks.

The 27-year-old Portugal international did not feature at all under Daniel Farke at City this season, but scored on his Royals debut, earning a 1-1 draw at Bolton.

He then suffered nasty facial injuries after being trodden on by Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings during a 0-0 home draw with Aston Villa, being taken to hospital in the 73rd minute and eventually having surgery on deep cuts and a badly broken nose.

He missed one game but then returned to action in a protective facial mask, scoring a late winner in a 2-1 home win over Blackburn.

After two further starts he regained favour with Norwich fans at the weekend when he scored during a 2-1 win at Ipswich, effectively relegating Town but limping off in the 58th minute with a hamstring injury.

“Nelson is definitely out,” manager Jose Gomes told the Reading Chronicle ahead of Saturday’s home game against survival rivals Wigan. “We cannot hide that in six games Nelson Oliveira scored three goals and some important ones.

“For everything that happened with the serious injury, it shows his quality and spirit.”

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Naismith will also miss the majority of the remainder of this season, with surgery on his troublesome knee scheduled for next week.

The 32-year-old Scotland international is out of contract at Norwich this summer and has enjoyed a positive season with Hearts, scoring 14 goals in 27 games.

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The Scottish Premiership side have only lost five of the matches in which Naismith has played, including the Scottish League Cup semi-final in which he initially came off with his knee injury in late October, missing almost two months after that 3-0 loss to Celtic.

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“I feel for Steven, more than anybody else,” manager Craig Levein told Hearts’ website. “He’s worked ever so hard to get back the last time and then this happens again.

“He needs to get back fit again. That will be his primary concern at the moment.

“He goes for an op on Monday. It’s unfortunate but it is what it is. I think he’s getting a little bit shaved off his cartilage again. Last time he was eight to ten weeks out.

“I hope we see him again before the end of the season. He came back really quickly last time, so I’m hopeful it will be the same again.”

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