The 21-year-old assistant Sahal Abdul Samad’s goal in their campaign opener against ATKMB.

Kerala Blasters began their Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 campaign on Friday, with a 2-4 defeat to last season’s finalists ATK Mohun Bagan. The result was not the only disappointment on the night for the Yellow Army, as star forward Rahul KP also sustained an injury during the clash.

“Things aren’t looking good for Rahul. He suffered an injury during the game against ATK Mohun Bagan and returned to the bench in the first half itself. He has pain on his groin. Only an MRI scan can reveal the extent of the injury,” sources close to the developments informed Khel Now on Sunday morning. Later, following the MRI scan, it was understood that there was a tear in the groin muscle. Groin strains require a minimum of four weeks to heal.

Kerala Blasters’ statement

On Monday, Kerala Blasters confirmed the injury news. They further announced that the former FIFA U-17 World Cup starlet will exit the ISL bio-bubble for check-ups, treatment and rehabilitation.

“We can confirm that Rahul KP sustained an injury in the match against ATK Mohun Bagan last Friday. The winger had to be subbed off just a few minutes after his goal contribution to Sahal Abdul Samad. Initial observations suggest a partial tear of the groin muscle. For further investigation, the player will exit the bio-bubble in Goa and travel to Mumbai soon,” the club’s official statement read.

What Rahul’s injury means for KBFC

The 21-year-old’s injury is a big blow for the Yellow Army, who have important league games lined up in the next few weeks. In the few minutes that Rahul featured against ATKMB, he looked strong and promising on the right flank. The youngster also assisted Sahal, who netted KBFC’s maiden goal of their ongoing campaign.

Rahul KP’s time off means he will miss the Blasters’ games against NorthEast United and Bengaluru FC later this month. He will also miss a few of their games in December, if not all of them. In his absence, the likes of Vincy Barretto and Prasanth Karuthadathkuni will have to step up on the right side of the pitch.

Nishu Kumar is another player who is yet to achieve full fitness following an injury. However, he is steadily improving and his impending return will be a matter of relief for the two-time finalists.

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