With seven injuries ravaging FC Barcelona, it seems suspicious that six are all on the same muscle. Is the calendar already starting to take its toll? Are the Barça physical therapists and doctors overwhelmed at the seemingly impossible task of having a 100-percent fully fit squad? Is there any sign of this injury storm passing? Barcelona doctors share a mix of delightful and depressing news after the jump.
The international break arrives for Barcelona like the waters of May (a blessing). The blaugrana recovers one of its injured this week, Andrés Iniesta (27), with Éric Abidal (32) following in the coming days. Next in line could be Cesc Fàbregas (24), despite still missing group training.
Team doctor Ricard Pruna announced Monday that Iniesta has recovered from injury and should receive his medical clearance Tuesday or Wednesday.
Abidal finds himself in a similar situation after being substituted Sunday against Sporting de Gijón following a contracture in his right hamstring. The France defender could possibly play the second game of the international break in the coming days.
As for Fàbregas, who suffered a tear in the same muscle during Saturday training, he will require three more weeks to recover and according to Pruna, “will be almost ready after the break.”
Fàbregas’ situation is different from that of Alexis Sánchez (22), who also suffered a tear in his hamstring against Real Sociedad. The very same day it was announced he would be out for two months.
Pruna said the Barça hamstring injuries are divided into two groups: four are minor given the tear occurred away from the tendon, while two occurred near it. “The two near the tendon have a greater recovery time,” referring to Ibrahim Afellay (25) – six months out [related to his ACL, not his hamstring, from which he recently recovered] – and Sánchez – two months.
No signs for concern
Pruna dispelled the idea that the seven muscle injuries were a result of the pre-season tour conducted in the United States, since the preparation is usually the same every year, “We manage the parameters of each season [in the same way],” he said.
He also downplayed the fact that of these seven injuries, six have been in the same area, the hamstring. “It is the muscle that receives the most load,” Pruna said. “It gets injured more.”
“Puyol can play the years he wants”
Dr. Ramon Cugat confirmed after operating on Afellay, that the Dutchman will be out for six months because of his knee injury.
Cugat also spoke of Carles Puyol (33), on whom he operated months ago.
“He’s cured,” Cugat said. “He has turned out quite well from the operation we did. Puyol will always have his age, but he is a genius and legend until the grave. He is made of sterner stuff, and can play the years he wants.”