By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- Tottenham Hotspur star and South Korea captain Son Heung-min will likely miss the rest of January with a leg injury, a blow to both his club and his country ahead of crucial matches.
Tottenham boss Antonio Conte confirmed Friday (in London local time) that Son picked up a muscle injury in his leg during Spurs' 2-0 loss to Chelsea in the Carabao Cup semifinals two days earlier.
Conte said he took out Son late in the second half of that match, not for any injury concerns but to give him some rest.
"Then the day after, he felt a bit of pain in his muscle in his leg, and he had a scan," Conte said in a press conference before Sunday's FA Cup match against Morecambe. "Now, we're able to make the right evaluation from the doctor."
Conte said Son could stay sidelined until the end of January, which means he will miss some key games for Spurs.
They will face Chelsea in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semis next Wednesday and then play three Premier League matches between Jan. 16 and Jan. 23 -- Arsenal, Leicester City and Chelsea.
Son may also be unavailable for South Korea's next two FIFA World Cup qualifiers: against Lebanon on Jan. 27 and against Syria on Feb. 1.
With 14 points from four wins and two draws, South Korea are currently in second place in Group A of the final Asian World Cup qualifying round. There are four matches remaining, and the top two nations from the group will earn automatic berths for the World Cup kicking off in November in Qatar.
Son leads Tottenham with eight goals in 18 matches in the Premier League. For South Korea, Son has scored three times in the past four World Cup qualifiers.