From the Treatment Room
Head of Medical and Sports Science Stijn Vandenbroucke issues his final update of 2016 – in association with Spire Roding Hospital...
Hello everybody and welcome to the final From the Treatment Room of 2016.
We have had a very good couple of weeks and we hope this will continue.
I am an optimist and the situation does not look too bad as we go into the busy New Year period of three games in seven days.
We are happy that Manuel Lanzini, Simone Zaza, Reece Oxford and Sam Byram are all back in training with the first-team squad.
We have five injuries at present – Diafra Sakho, Arthur Masuaku, Alvaro Arbeloa, Gokhan Tore – and James Collins, who is set to return to training next week. All the other senior players are in full training.
After suffering back pain, Diafra underwent a successful operation before Christmas. He is currently resting and will undergo a period of rehabilitation with the aim of returning him to the pitch in the spring.
Arthur injured his knee in training and is still several weeks away from a return.
Ginge pulled his calf in the game against Arsenal. He is working individually on the pitch and in the gym rebuilding his fitness.
Alvaro is recovering from a nasty contusion he suffered in the Arsenal game. He has been on crutches for a few weeks but started a more active recovery phase on Wednesday. He will be out for several more weeks.
Gokhan has undergone knee surgery in Europe after suffering a serious injury in training and is now continuing his rehabilitation with his parent club, Besiktas. He will be out for a long period.
The most challenging aspect for the medical and sports science department at this time of year is striking the balance between training, games and recovery.
We are not complaining, because lots of matches in a short space of time over Christmas and New Year is a great tradition of English football, but if you play two games in three days, it becomes impossible to recover players and have them perform again at the same level 48 hours later.
We have a great group of players, great staff and great management, but you can only do so much. You try to control as many aspects as you can, but as football is a high-intensity, contact, team sport your body needs time to recover.
It becomes more of a lottery for the players if you play two matches in 48 hours, where you can lose the quality of the game and put the players at risk of injury.
As I said, Boxing Day and New Year football is a tradition of English football that should not be lost, but maybe we should look to introduce a winter break in January.
Head of Medical and Sports Science