Gareth Bale “doesn’t need surgery,” but Real Madrid must be patient as injury issues persist

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Start to life at Real Madrid has not been easy for Gareth Bale, and rumors suggest things are about to get worse before they get better.

Over the weekend, the Spanish giants were forced to release a statement after reports in Marca (Spain’s favorite Real rumor-mongers) suggested that the $132 million man needed back surgery after slipping a disc.

“It is completely false that the player has a discal hernia between vertebrae L5-S1 as reported by Marca,” Real Madrid said. “The player has a small chronic protrusion in a spinal disc that will not affect him playing.”

And Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett has dismissed reports that the injury was detected by Real Madrid’s medical staff before he signed as “complete rubbish.” With Bale suffering a slight tear in his thigh before the international break and using the past week or so to try and nurse himself back to full fitness, the Welsh attacker needs to shake off injuries that are stacking up at the start of his Real career.

(MORE: Real Madrid deny reports that Gareth Bale has slipped a disc)

As has been mentioned many times before, Bale didn’t have a full preseason under his belt after his protracted transfer from Tottenham to Real Madrid took much longer than expected. Hence why the 24-year-old keeps picking up all of these small problems that are affecting each other. So really, Real need to be patient, let him build up his fitness, and maybe by the middle of November they will see the real Bale.

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Ever since he arrived, Bale has been under pressure to play. Why aren’t Real protecting their world record signing?

It is thought that the “small chronic protrusion” in a spinal disc could be linked to tightness in his upper leg and thigh area, which if they saw this problem when Bale was having his medical with Madrid back in August, it would make sense to be slightly concerned about picking up plenty of related injuries. And it also calls into question exactly why Real keep rushing Bale back into games, like the half time arrival against Atletico Madrid, the late cameo versus Galatasaray and his full debut against Villarreal, if they know he’s carrying this injury, then they should just give him time to rest.

Madrid have stated this problem is “extremely frequent among professional footballers” and that “these findings [in Bale’s back] are not important as the player is not in pain. He is playing and training normally.”

(MORE: Gareth Bale’s ruled out of Champions League game)

With Real so desperate to nurse their superstar summer signing to full fitness, he even missed international duty with Wales to take part in what some are calling a ‘mini preseason’ to try and help increase his fitness levels and get back to his best.

Bale is a 100 percenter, by that I mean if he isn’t quite at full-fitness, you see a marketed drop in his performance levels. With no injuries, he can run at people all day long, burn defenders for pace and crunch through tackles and win balls in the air. But even if he’s at 90 percent, his performances, although still fantastic, drop off alarmingly.

As of yet, Bale is nowhere near 100 percent fit. So Real Madrid’s fans will have a long wait to see Bale at his best. But it will be worth it, just be patient.

WATCH: Knee slide celebration goes face plant for RSL’s Mulholland

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We’d ask Luke Mulholland to take a bow, but we’re unsure how that would turn out.

The Englishman celebrated his 16th Real Salt Lake goal with a knee slide turned face plant on Sunday, and it was immediately clear he shared in the laughter it caused at Rio Tinto and on screens around the world.

[ RECAP: RSL 2-0 Seattle ]

Mulholland helped RSL continued it’s improbable red-hot run into the playoff picture with his third goal of the season on Saturday night against Seattle with a run in front of a defender to punch home a cross.

On his way to the corner flag for a nice slide, the pitch decided to rebel against his knees and sent him face-first into the Earth.

WATCH LIVE: Brighton hosts Newcastle United

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Newcastle United looks to continue its rich vein of form when it visits some old friends at Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

Brighton manager Chris Hughton has led both clubs to Premier League promotion during his managerial career.

He’ll keep ex-Newcastle keeper Tim Krul on the bench in favor of Australian backstop Mathew Ryan.

As for Newcastle, the Magpies are unchanged from last week’s win over Stoke City.

LINEUPS

Brighton and Hove Albion: Ryan; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Suttner; Knockaert, Stephens, Propper, March; Gross; Hemed. Subs: Krul, Rosenior, Huenemeier, Schelotto, Izquierdo, Murphy, Brown.

Newcastle United: Elliot; Mbemba, Clark, Lascelles, Yedlin; Ritchie, Hayden, Merino, Atsu; Perez, JoseluSubs: Darlow, Gamez, Manquillo, Diame, Murphy, Shelvey, Gayle.

Steven Gerrard didn’t want any part of Coutinho in training

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Steven Gerrard has issued some fairly hilarious comments regarding former Liverpool teammate Philippe Coutinho.

The Premier League legend admits there were days in training that the sight of the Brazilian wizard on the other side of the pitch made him lash out.

[ MORE: Palace fans must be patient ]

It seems Gerrard wanted nothing to do with marking Coutinho in small-sided games, and the idea of “Stevie G” spouting off in frustration when Brendan Rodgers posted Coutinho across from him is a wonderful mental picture.

From The Liverpool Echo:

“He’s impossible to defend against,” Gerrard told BT Sport after Saturday’s game.

“I mean when I used to train against him, I’d hate it if I was on the opposite five-a-side team. I wouldn’t go near him. And sometimes I’d say to him: ‘Keep away from me! He can embarrass you [as a defender]. He can stand you up, he can both ways, he’s got such a low centre of gravity. He’s sharp, he’s quick and he’s two or three steps ahead of defenders. He’s so, so clever.”

Again, the vision of Gerrard throwing his hands up with a “Nope, not having this today” is amazing. Even if exaggerated, we love it. We picture that old meme with the office worked tossing papers through the air.

Patience with Hodgson required by Palace

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Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson is 0-2 in his new gig and the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t exactly within touching distance.

The latest defeat is a 5-0 blowout at Manchester City, and the immediate road ahead is sobering: at Manchester United and home to Chelsea. Following a trip to Newcastle, who is in form, the Eagles have matches vs. West Ham, at Spurs, and versus Everton.

[ MORE: Premier League Sat. roundup ]

Palace is 0-6 overall and the first team in the history of the Premier League to go goalless through its first six matches.

Palace fired Frank De Boer after four league matches and a summer in which the club failed to add much to its squad.

And Hodgson is feeling his way through the dark. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of this is the timing of Palace’s change.

From the BBC:

“I am learning about the team all the time and they are learning,” said Hodgson.

“Our focus has to be in May. By the latter part of the season the players must know what we are looking for. They should feel stronger by then.”

To be shooting for May has to be overwhelming for the Selhurst Park faithful but may indicate their most reasonable promise of life in the Premier League.

Palace fans cannot afford to get caught up in how Sam Allardyce saved them a year ago, because his turnaround coincided with the Eagles’ purchases of Luka MilivojevicMamadou Sakho, and Patrick Van Aanholt. An influx of talent does not save a season alone, but we’re fairly sure Alan Pardew would’ve relished the chance to work with two new backs and a stabilizing center midfielder.

Remember that Allardyce then retired, which says something given his willingness to bask in any light in which he can claim a modicum of credit.

So Hodgson, known for his relentless training methods, needs to be given his time. Palace will likely have at-most one point after the next two PL matches, and they may have not scored yet. History can be daunting, but supporters need to exhale and realize the road ahead is long.