Benitez fears serious Lejeune injury

Rafael Benitez is concerned Florian Lejeune suffered another serious injury in Newcastle United's 1-0 Premier League defeat to Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Lejeune, who underwent right knee surgery last August and returned in January, went down following a challenge with former Newcastle winger Andros Townsend at St James' Park, immediately indicating for a substitution.

The French centre-back was taken from the pitch on a stretcher after lengthy treatment and reportedly left the stadium on crutches with his left knee in a brace.

Benitez confirmed that it was the opposite knee to that which previously suffered a tear of his anterior cruciate ligament, but he was not positive ahead of a diagnosis.

"Lejeune seems bad. It was the other knee [to last time]," Benitez told a news conference.

"We have to wait to see what the doctor says. We need to assess him, but it seems bad. He felt a click in his knee and it felt bad."

Newcastle were beaten by a late Luka Milivojevic penalty after DeAndre Yedlin fouled Wilfried Zaha, with Benitez's men made to pay for numerous missed chances at the other end.

The Magpies boss added: "I think we did enough to deserve the three points. We had chances, we were attacking and we were controlling the game. We made a mistake and paid for that."

Palace also left Tyneside with an injury concern after James Tomkins hobbled off in the second half, which will be a concern to boss Roy Hodgson given regular centre-back partner Mamadou Sakho is already out.

"[Tomkins] has obviously damaged something in his groin area but I don't know what it is," Hodgson said. "We'll have to scan that but it didn't look very good.

"If it isn't good and he's going to miss games, it'll be a massive, massive blow for us because we're already missing Sakho for the last five or six games.

"Tomkins and Sakho have played a large part in us being where we are today. If I'm going to miss both of them for the last five games of the season, it's a blow. It's not a minor knock but we'll have to look into it."

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