Marseille without Stephane M’Bia for several weeks

Marseille midfielder Stephane M’Bia will be out for several

weeks with a groin injury, depriving coach Didier Deschamps of one

of his best players for the title run-in.

M’Bia limped off minutes into Saturday’s League Cup final win

over Montpellier.

”The news isn’t good,” Deschamps said Monday on the club’s

website. ”I don’t think he will come back before mid-May.”

The Cameroon midfielder could potentially miss five of defending

champion Marseille’s seven remaining league games. The French

league ends on May 29.

Marseille is two points behind leader Lille, but has a game in

hand and can go top if it beats Nice on Wednesday. Marseille then

plays Auxerre, title rival Lyon, Brest, and then Lorient on May

15.

The 24-year-old M’Bia is a crucial player in Deschamps’ team

because he can play both as a holding midfielder, his favored role,

or fill in at centre-half as he did toward the end of last

season.

Deschamps may be forced into reshuffling his defense as

left-back Taye Taiwo could also be ruled out for a while.

The Nigeria defender faces a possible suspension for his

expletive-laced chant following his team’s 1-0 victory over

Montpellier on Saturday.

Taiwo, who scored the winning goal, took the microphone after

the game and joined in with Marseille fans singing an offensive

song aimed at bitter archrival Paris Saint-Germain. The two clubs

have a long history of animosity and violence.

The French league will submit Taiwo’s case to the football

federation’s National Ethics Council. Taiwo has apologized.

”He shouldn’t have done (it), it’s very silly,” Deschamps

said. ”What he said wasn’t good. He realized that and felt very

sad about it. He didn’t realize what proportions it would

take.”

Deschamps said that because other players, such as former

Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o have done similar things in the

past, Taiwo should not be made an example of.

”I don’t want to minimize it, but you shouldn’t exaggerate,”

Deschamps said. ”It’s happened to others. That’s not an excuse but

Samuel Eto’o took the mic (celebrating) Barca’s league title and

spoke (in offensive terms) about Real Madrid.”