Cuenca suffers fresh Barca injury blow

Luckless Barcelona winger Isaac Cuenca faces another four weeks out of action after tearing a hamstring in training on Thursday.

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The 22-year-old has had an injury-plagued last two seasons, and underwent the second serious knee operation of his career last summer.

Cuenca has yet to feature for the Barcelona first team this season despite being declared fit last October, and suffered his latest setback during a session with his teammates.

“Isaac Cuenca picked up an injury during this afternoon’s training session at the Ciutat Esportiva,” a Barca statement read. “The FC Barcelona forward tore the biceps femoris in his left leg, and will be out of action for the next four weeks.”

Los Blaugranas also reported that Barca reserve goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto is currently out of action with a back problem.

“In addition, Jose Manuel Pinto is recovering from lower back pain,” the statement continued. “His recovery will mark his availability for the team’s upcoming games.”

Meanwhile Jordi Alba has returned to training following a short absence with a hamstring problem, while Gerard Pique is set to miss Sunday’s Primera Liga game against Almeria with a thigh problem picked up during last weekend’s 3-1 loss at Real Sociedad.

“The team trained this Thursday afternoon at the Ciutat Esportia Joan Gamper,” another club statement read. “Continuing with his recovery regimen, Jordi Alba trained with group. The left-back trained normally, while Gerard Pique continued with his recovery work.”

Pique’s absence means that Javier Mascherano is likely to come into the team for Sunday’s game at Camp Nou. Barcelona B 'keeper Oier Olazabal is likely to be on the bench as back-up for first choice Victor Valdes if Pinto is unavailable.

Other changes should see Xavi Hernandez and Cesc Fabregas -- who were surprisingly left out of last weekend’s defeat -- returned to coach Gerardo Martino’s starting lineup for the game against 16th-placed Almeria, while Alex Song and Andres Iniesta may be rested.