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21 July 2011, 10:49
Hatem Ben Arfa will miss the rest of Newcastle United's US tour after being taken to hospital during the 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas City.
The Frenchman was carried off the field on a stretcher after a challenge by Roger Espinoza 30 minutes into the game during the early hours of this morning and taken for an X-ray on his left ankle.
It was later confirmed that Ben Arfa, who missed all but four games of last season with a double leg fracture, is to fly back to Tyneside as medics attempt to assess the full extent of any damage.
A club statement said:
'Hatem Ben Arfa sustained an injury to his left ankle in a tackle during the club's friendly against Sporting Kansas on Wednesday evening and went to a local hospital for a precautionary X-ray.
'Consequently he will be leaving the club's US tour tomorrow and the injury will be reassessed over the next 48 hours.'
The news is a fresh blow to manager Alan Pardew, who embarked on the tour on Sunday without Joey Barton, Yohan Cabaye and Nile Ranger after they were refused entry visas.
Ben Arfa too will hope the injury proves to be a minor one after a long haul back to fitness from the horrific break he suffered in a challenge with Manchester City's Nigel de Jong on October 3.
The Frenchman had made just a handful of appearances for the club he had joined on a season-long loan deal from Marseille when the injury struck.
However, the Magpies had seen enough to make his move permanent in January, although hopes that he could return before the end of the campaign proved optimistic.
Pardew, who remains in the hunt for a striker before the closure of the transfer window, had hoped the France international could play as an auxiliary frontman if required this time around, and he faces an anxious wait, although initial indications were that the latest injury was not too serious.
Summer signings Sylvain Marveaux and Demba Ba made debuts for the club at the Livestrong Stadium, but were unable to give them a winning start to their three-match tour.
Newcastle face Orlando City during the early hours of Sunday morning and Columbus Crew three days later.