Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal says he does not know when Phil Jones will return from his latest injury setback.
The defender recovered from month-long layoff to play 90 minutes in the 2-2 draw against West Bromwich Albion last Monday. Having performed well against the Baggies, Manchester United fans had hoped that their star defender was nearing the end of a frustrating spell of ill health.
But Jones did not feature against Chelsea on Sunday and Van Gaal later revealed that the England international missed out on the crunch clash with shin splints. With no muscular damage, it was hoped that Jones would return to the Manchester United set up soon, but Van Gaal admitted he had no idea when the defender would be available again.
"On Saturday he could not continue training, even though it was a very light session before the match."
The Dutchman told reporters: "The match against West Brom was his first after a long injury period.
"We brought him back and he trained for more than a week with the first team, then had to play 90 minutes.
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"Then he had a sore feeling in his shin. On Saturday he could not continue training, even though it was a very light session before the match.
"He had shin splints, which is very painful. I don't know how long it will take [for him to recover]."
The fresh injury blow adds to the frustration for Jones, who has been limited to just four Premier League starts this season. He missed over a month after sustaining a hamstring injury on international duty with England.
The injury problems have been a huge source of frustration for Van Gaal, who has been forced to hand Premier League debuts to Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair as injuries hit a number of defenders.
Although Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans have also been missed through injury, Jones was a particular blow as he has been in fine form when he has played. Jones won the Player of the Month award at Manchester United in August, fending off competition from Wayne Rooney in the process.