NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - APRIL 02: Mike Williamson of Newcastle United is challenged by Wayne Hennessey of Wolverhampton Wanderers during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at St James' Park on April 2, 2011 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Newcastle defender Mike Williamson broke his forearm in training Thursday morning, according to multiple sources (BBC Sport article). The 27 year-old will undergo surgery and will miss the last three games of the season. Alan Pardew has already named Steven Taylor as his replacement:
Steven Taylor will come into the side and he's raring to go. It was a freak injury for the big fella.
It sounds like this injury shouldn't affect Williamson's play long-term, although we don't really know what happened and if there will be any mental barriers to overcome in the future. Immediately, it's a blow for the back line as Williamson was sure to draw the assignment of marking Nikola Zigic in Saturday's match against Birmingham City, and while Steven Taylor is a solid defender, he doesn't quite have the height to match up with a giant like Zigic.
Still, this injury (and the many, many others that have plagued the Toon this year) highlights the importance of grabbing points early. There would surely be panic on Tyneside if Newcastle were sitting a little lower in the table. As it stands, the absence of Williamson, while unfortunate, should have little impact on the team's standing on May 23.