The injury to Sheffield United defender Jack O’Connell was suffered in training after a collision with a teammate.

Both O’Connell and John Fleck missed the Blades’ return to Premier League action last night due to injuries.

In their absence, United drew 0-0 with Aston Villa in their first match in more than three months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The news that O’Connell and Fleck would be missing had broken the morning of the game. The Telegraph reported on the story and manager Chris Wilder was furious with whoever leaked it.

It was reported that O’Connell had injured his knee, but not how he had done it. Wilder has since clarified that.

“(They are) two contact injuries, not soft tissue injuries,” the Blades boss told BBC Radio Sheffield.

“We train as we play, I can’t get them to change. Jack had a collision with Dean (Henderson) trying to kick the ball out of the back of the net in a phase of play and went down.”

How long will the O’Connell injury keep him out?

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Rumours started circulating on fan forums that the centre-back would not play again this season. With United still having nine more league fixtures – as well as an FA Cup quarter-final with Arsenal – that would be a huge blow.

Fleck, meanwhile, could return as soon as Sunday when the Blades travel to Newcastle United for their next Premier League encounter.

The midfielder injured himself in a last minute tackle during the friendly with Hull City on June 10, which resulted in a dead leg.

As for O’Connell, Wilder has some more positive news than was first feared.

“Fleck, we’ve got great reports today that he’s trained nearly full tilt. So he’ll be available for Sunday, fingers crossed,” the 52-year-old continued.

“Jack, we’ve got a decision to make. We’ve got a specialist report but we’re hopeful it will be short-term.

“He ain’t out for the season just yet.”

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