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Barcelona refuse to name Samuel Umtiti return date amid long term injury report

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Barcelona are refusing to put a timeframe on Samuel Umtiti's recovery from a knee injury amid reports the defender is set for a long-term layoff.

Umtiti has not played since Barca's 2-1 defeat to Leganes on Sept. 26 due to a problem with the cartilage in his left knee.

A story in Diario Sport on Thursday claimed the club are considering surgery to fix the issue because Umtiti has not responded to the course of treatment as expected.

However, sources at the Catalan club told ESPN FC nothing has changed from when they first revealed the centre-back had an injury.

Barca said in September Umtiti had a problem but did not reveal how long he would be sidelined for, merely saying his "recovery will dictate his return to action."

That's a stance they are sticking to amid concerns he will not be able to play again until the New Year.

Umtiti sat out the recent draws with Athletic Bilbao and Valencia, while he was suspended for the trip to Tottenham in the Champions League, but coach Ernesto Valverde has suggested the 24-year-old would be back after the international break.

But Sport claim Barca now fear he will not play again until 2019 and that he could end up needing surgery to help heal the damaged knee.

Umtiti has not joined up with the France squad during the international break and regardless of whether surgery is deemed necessary or not, it's unlikely he will be available for the games against La Liga leaders Sevilla, Inter Milan and Real Madrid later this month.

In the meantime, Valverde has been forced to stick with Gerard Pique, who has played every game so far this season despite making some high profile mistakes, pairing him with either summer signing Clement Lenglet or Thomas Vermaelen.