He’s Pompey’s FA Cup icon – the match-winner on the last glorious occasion they lifted the trophy.
But Michael Appleton has revealed injury was behind Kanu’s absence at Chelsea.
The veteran was surprisingly missing from the Blues’ 18-man match-day squad on Sunday. Instead, 17-year-old Adam Webster was among the seven substitutes on duty for the FA Cup third-round fixture.
Kanu’s omission has been explained as down to a back complaint in the build-up to the game.
That robbed the 35-year-old, who appeared in both of Pompey’s recent FA Cup finals, of a place in the squad at Stamford Bridge.
Appleton, though, expects him to return soon.
He said: ‘King didn’t travel. He has got a sore back at the minute.
‘He came in on Friday with his back problem and didn’t finish training.
‘He trained again on Saturday and it was still a little bit sore so he was missing for the Chelsea game.
‘Hopefully, he will be back soon.’
Meanwhile, Webster received his shock call-up after impressing Appleton.
The Chichester youngster has been training with the first-team regularly this season. That was after encouraging progress with Andy Awford’s Academy side.
Those displays were enough to earn Webster his maiden first-team squad call-up at the weekend.
And Appleton will continue to monitor the highly-regarded defender’s progress.
He added: ‘Adam has been coming and training with the first team and been fantastic. We have been really delighted with him.
‘He got his opportunity on Sunday and thoroughly deserved it.
‘He has shown potential and we have got to make sure we look after him the right way and bring him in at the time we can. I have been delighted with what I have seen so far.’