Nice lose Pléa for rest of season
OGC Nice's title hopes have been dealt a huge blow after leading scorer Alassane Pléa was ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Pléa, 23, hurt his right knee in the 2-2 draw away to Stade Rennais FC on February 12 and has since undergone tests as well as an arthroscopy in Lyon on Monday. In a statement, Nice said "the operation went well" but added that the player "will unfortunately not be able to play again this season."
The former Olympique Lyonnais striker has scored 11 league goals and 14 in all competitions and his absence for the final third of the campaign is a serious handicap to Lucien Favre's side, who currently sit third in Ligue 1, three points behind leaders AS Monaco.
"Unfortunately I am once again going to be out for five months. I am going to once again come back stronger," wrote Pléa on Twitter.
Favre was already without Mario Balotelli for this weekend's home clash with Montpellier Hérault SC. The Italian, who has scored nine league goals this season, will be suspended after being sent off in last Saturday's 1-0 win at FC Lorient. Young Greek forward Anastasios Donis, who scored after coming on to replace Pléa at Rennes, is therefore likely to start a Ligue 1 game for the first time.