Published: February 9, 1:22 p.m. ET
Updated: February 11, 4:59 p.m.

Some injury updates are more worrying than others. This is one of those.

After Celtic and Canada right-back Alistair Johnston was substituted out of Wednesday’s Scottish Premiership match against Hibernian after a nasty clash of heads, his Bhoys manager Brendan Rodgers and the club’s medical staff are concerned he may have done some serious damage.

“We are just waiting on the results of a scan,” Rodgers said on Friday. “He won’t be available for the weekend. We think he has a slight fracture on the side of the head.”

The exact nature of the injury is unconfirmed. The Athletic’s Josh Kloke reports that early indications suggest the fracture is in Johnston’s jaw, while Scottish media is calling it a cracked skull.

Asked if it was a long-term fear, Rodgers admitted he didn’t know. “We’re just waiting to see.”

On Sunday, after Johnston missed Celtic’s 2-0 Scottish Cup fifth-round win at St. Mirren, Rodgers suggested that the Canadian could be out for up to four weeks.

“We’re just waiting to see again on him,” said the Northern Irishman. “The thinking is we’ll have a look in 10 days to see where he’s at. But it could be 10 days to four weeks. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

The word “slight” somewhat mitigates the word “fracture” but it doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence just six weeks before CanMNT face Trinidad & Tobago in their vital single-game Copa América playoff in Frisco, Texas on March 23.

It’s too early to make any kind of definitive call on how this could affect his availability for that game, which decides whether they will earn a chance to face Lionel Messi’s Argentina and other top-tier competition at the 2024 Copa América. Even if Johnston does have a fracture, the recovery time could presumably vary significantly depending on the severity of the injury, although Kloke tentatively suggests that he the defender should be available for the game.

Johnston’s not exactly had the best of luck with injuries recently. He needed ankle surgery over the summer after suffering and then aggravating a problem in the home stretch of last season. He had his minutes managed by interim CanMNT boss Mauro Biello in the two-legged CONCACAF Nations League quarter-final tie with Jamaica in November, although he did play 83 minutes of the catastrophic second leg at BMO Field after playing just a minute plus stoppage time of the first.

Before he sat out that game in Kingston, Johnston had started every single one of the last 14 CanMNT games for which he was eligible, dating back to March 2022.

Hopefully, Richie Laryea manages to find a way to get some game time for Nottingham Forest in the coming weeks. The last thing Canadian fans want heading into CanMNT’s single most important game of the last 15 months is one right-back recovering from a head fracture and another sitting on the bench in the cold for the next month.

Above all, here’s to Johnston’s health and a speedy recovery.