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Stoke defense takes month-long hit with Shawcross back injury

Stoke City v Arsenal - Premier League

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - JANUARY 17: Ryan Shawcross of Stoke City looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Arsenal at Britannia Stadium on January 17, 2016 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

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Stoke City fell 3-0 to Leicester City on the weekend, and will have to fix that leaky defense without its captain.

Center back Ryan Shawcross has another back injury and is expected to miss close to a month. He was forced off in the 30th minute at King Power Stadium with the score still 0-0.

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The Potters have been without mainstay Geoff Cameron thanks to an ankle injury, and Shawcross’ absence makes the USMNT man’s return even more critical.

From the BBC:

“It is not a recurrence of the injury which required surgery so that is a positive,” said Stoke boss Mark Hughes.

“Unfortunately, the negative is that he has soft muscle damage and at the moment it is looking like it will probably be three to four weeks I would think.”

Stoke has allowed the sixth-fewest goals in the Premier League this season, and Shawcross has complemented Erik Pieters, Philipp Wollscheid and Glen Johnson well. Marc Muniesa and Marc Wilson could see increased playing time in Shawcross’ absence.

Follow @NicholasMendola