Juve may turn to dropped Grosso

MILAN - Juventus left-back Paolo De Ceglie will be out for at least three months after fracturing his kneecap, meaning the Turin club may have to recall dropped defender Fabio Grosso.

Juve said in a statement on Sunday that De Ceglie could need surgery after the injury in Saturday's 2-1 win at AC Milan, where winger Simone Pepe was forced to play as a makeshift defender.

Possible replacements Zdenek Grygera, Giorgio Chiellini and Armand Traore are also injured for a short time so there could be a return for Grosso, dropped from the first-team squad after turning down a move in the close season.

Left-back Grosso's case forms the basis of the Italian players' association's dispute with Serie A over footballers being left to train with the youth side if no longer wanted.

The union has threatened to go on strike over the issue and any Juve move to draft 2006 World Cup winner Grosso back into the side for Thursday's Europa League game against Salzburg would strengthen the association's hand.

"I think there are now all the conditions to reach a rapid collective agreement," AC Milan defender and union representative Massimo Oddo, himself out injured for up to six weeks, told reporters.

The trend of Serie A clubs banishing players for various reasons has been growing.

Shock leaders Lazio sent Goran Pandev to the reserves last season when he demanded a move but the striker won an arbitration case and sealed a transfer to Inter Milan.

Italy striker Antonio Cassano looks set to be left out of Sampdoria's squad for some time after insulting the club president and although Inter and Juve have distanced themselves slightly from a January bid, his future is unclear.

Juve have said they will consider Cassano's situation and what to do in the transfer window at the appropriate time but Luigi Del Neri's side are certainly down to the bare bones after Jorge Martinez was also ruled out for two months.

The winger broke a metatarsal in the Milan game on Saturday where the home side's Daniele Bonera was also carried off although the Rossoneri said tests had excluded the possibility of ligament damage.