Previews: Inter hit by injuries and bans

ROME - Brief news ahead of this weekend's matches in Serie A: Leaders Inter Milan could be without Argentine defender Walter Samuel until the new year because of a pulled leg muscle while midfielder Dejan Stankovic is unlikely to play in Sunday's game at struggling Atalanta because of a thigh knock.

The pair suffered the injuries in Wednesday's 2-0 victory over Rubin Kazan, which secured Inter's passage to the Champions League last 16, although Samuel would not have been able to play in the match in Bergamo anyway because he is suspended.

Midfielder Sulley Muntari is suspended as well. Coach Jose Mourinho has a touchline ban after being sent off in last weekend's 2-1 defeat at Juventus and the club has cancelled his pre-match news conference.

Atalanta boss Antonio Conte will see the match from the stands as he too got a red card last week and midfielder Jaime Valdes is also suspended. Second-placed AC Milan, who trail Inter by four points, will face Palermo at the San Siro on Sunday without in-form defender Thiago Silva.

The Brazilian will train separately from his team mates until he has more tests on Tuesday, the club said, after he hurt his calf in this week's 1-1 draw at FC Zurich in the Champions League. Christian Poulsen is tipped to take the place of suspended Brazilian Felipe Melo in midfield when Juventus try to bounce back at Bari on Saturday after crashing out of the Champions League with Tuesday's 4-1 drubbing by Bayern Munich.

Defender Giorgio Chiellini, midfielder Mohamed Sissoko and forward Vincenzo Iaquinta are injured for third-placed Juve. AS Roma defender Philippe Mexes is expected to miss his side's visit to fading Sampdoria on Sunday after taking a knock to his knee in last week's 1-0 win over city rivals Lazio.

Roma, who are a point away from the Champions League qualification zone after a poor start, cannot field suspended midfielder David Pizarro and forward Jeremy Menez.