Serie A Previews: Kaka set to sit out derby
AC Milan playmaker Kaka is tipped to lose his fight to be fit for Sunday's derby against Serie A leaders Inter Milan.
The Brazilian is making a quicker-than-expected recovery after sustaining a foot injury in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Reggina but local media reported that he is unlikely to play this weekend as he was still limping on Thursday.
Milan are without the suspended Daniele Bonera but fellow centre back Alessandro Nesta is likely to be in third-placed Milan's squad for the game after recovering from a back problem that has sidelined him all season.
Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar is philosophical about Kaka's expected absence because it probably means Ronaldinho will return to the starting line-up for Milan, who are eight points behind and need a win to keep alive their title hopes. Ronaldinho scored in Milan's 1-0 win over Inter in September.
"Beating Milan would give us extra confidence and eliminate a pretender to the title," Cesar told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Naturally Milan may miss this great player, any team in the world would. But Ronaldinho scored against me in the early-season fixture and then we have to keep an eye on (Alexandre) Pato."
Inter coach Jose Mourinho cannot field suspended forward Mario Balotelli and defender Maicon is a doubt after pulling out of training on Friday with a thigh muscle problem. The Brazil fullback's condition will be assessed on Saturday and Sunday, the club said on their website.
Brazil striker Adriano can return after serving a three-match ban and fit-again France captain Patrick Vieira is expected to be on the bench, having made his last league appearance in November.
Striker Vincenzo Iaquinta is suspended for second-placed Juventus's home game against Sampdoria on Sunday. He was sent off shortly after scoring in last weekend's 2-1 win at Catania, which kept the Turin side seven points behind Inter.
Juve's injury list is still long and midfielder Momo Sissoko is struggling to shake off a knock but Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini should be able to return to the back four.
Fourth-placed Fiorentina are without suspended Brazil midfielder Felipe Melo for Sunday's visit to Genoa, who are tied with AS Roma in fifth place and direct rivals for a Champions League slot.
Genoa also have a player suspended, forward Giuseppe Sculli, while Roma will be without winger Rodrigo Taddei for the same reason for their trip to Atalanta.