LONDON: Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish will miss Saturday's Premier League trip to Leeds United as he has still not recovered from the leg injury that ruled him out of last week's defeat by Leicester City, manager Dean Smith has confirmed.
"Jack won't be available for the game," Smith told reporters. "The latest is he's still got a little bit of pain, not too much. As ever with Jack, whenever he's involved with anything, there's an awful lot of speculation.
"Jack doesn't know and the doctor doesn't know how long this will be. It's not long term. He could be back for Sheffield United on Wednesday or Wolves next week, that's how the injury is. We'll be led by Jack on that."
News of Grealish's shin injury emerged on social media before the game against Leicester after players and club staff removed him from their Fantasy Football teams.
Smith was angry about the way news of the club talisman's injury leaked out, but said on Friday that it was time to move on and was hopeful that Grealish would return soon.
"I believe he's getting very close to being pain-free now and, such is Jack, he'll want to play as soon as he is. That's the only light I can shed, unfortunately," Smith said.
Smith added he had reminded club staff and players of their responsibilities when it comes to team information.
"It must be a slow news week if this is the lead manager's question," he said of the Fantasy Football link to Grealish's absence against Leicester.
"I don't play it, I live in the real world not the fantasy world. Yes I was made aware of it. I'm sure they won't be certainly making that same mistake again."
Villa are eighth in the standings but with games in hand of the teams above them a win at Leeds would put them in contention for a top-four finish.
"I think there are an awful lot of similarities between the two teams," Smith said of a Leeds side who have impressed on their return to the top flight.
"They're a team that I love to watch play. They've come into the Premier League and lit it up."
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge)