Newcastle United are yet to learn the extent of Jonjo Shelvey’s hamstring injury ahead of next Saturday’s Premier League opener against Nottingham Forest.
The Magpies take on La Liga side Athletic Bilbao this afternoon (kick-off 3pm) but Shelvey won’t be involved after withdrawing in Benfica on Tuesday night.
With the 30-year-old still waiting on a full prognosis, he is likely to miss the curtain raiser versus Forest at St James’ Park, which takes place a week today.
Speaking after yesterday’s 1-0 win over Serie A side Atalanta, Howe said: “Everyone’s available bar Federico Fernandez, Jamal Lewis and Javier Manquillo. Jonjo won’t be involved tomorrow.
“We’re awaiting some scan results, a couple of opinions on his hamstring injury.
“It looks like there is some nerve damage. We’re waiting to see the extent of the damage to the hamstring if there is any at all.”
It’s a cruel blow for Shelvey, who worked tirelessly in the off season to ensure he returned for pre-season in good shape and boost his chances of making Howe’s first XI of the campaign.
“I’ve not really had a summer,’ Shelvey told the media in Austria. “‘I was injured at the back end of the season. I went away and did my rehab in Turkey and took my trainer with me. I took the missus and kids as well and we stayed there for a month. We didn’t bother to come back.
“I just basically smashed the gym. I didn’t do too much running, just into the gym building up my legs and body. It got a bit boring towards the end.
“You have to raise your game constantly every day and strive to be better. Since I’ve been here, it’s the strongest the squad has been and I just want to be part of it. I back myself to do that.
‘With the way the game is going, you’ve got to get on board or you fall by the wayside. A lot of the game is now based on stats, which may be right or wrong, but that’s the way it is. If I didn’t buy into it, I’d be out the door.”