Will Grigg will potentially be on the sidelines for the majority of 2021 after picking up a knee injury, says Sunderland manager Lee Johnson.
Grigg was a high-profile signing in 2019 from Wigan Athletic for the Black Cats, who parted company with around £4 million for the Northern Ireland international on January deadline day.
Sunderland expected to get the prolific Grigg that ripped apart League One for both the Latics and MK Dons in recent years, but they got anything but that.
The 29-year-old has netted just eight times in 58 league appearances since his arrival on Wearside two years ago, and he’s been a target of criticism for his failure to put away chances when on the pitch.
Grigg is yet to break his duck in the current campaign, and he may not appear at all for the rest of the season depending on what a visit to a specialist brings up.
Johnson discussed Grigg’s injury following Sunderland’s goalless draw with Northampton Town yesterday, and offered the best and worst case scenario on what might happen.
“He’s got a long-standing swelling of the knee,” Johnson told the Northern Echo.
“He’s going to see a specialist on Monday, and we’ll find out whether it’s three weeks, three months or nine months. I don’t think there’ll be any in between.
“It’ll either be rest for three weeks then have another go, rest for three months but still keep it non-surgical or we go down the surgical route.”
Despite not netting at all this season so far, Grigg will likely be a key part of Johnson’s plans and he will want to get him fit and firing again as part of a promotion push.
But if the worst case scenario occurs, the Black Cats will have no option but to dip into the transfer market to strengthen their front-line, which looks sparse enough as it is.
And with a backlog of games to catch up on between now and the rest of the season, Johnson will be praying that the diagnosis is on the three week scale – anything else will be a massive blow.