Although they’ve been out of action for the last few weeks, Real’s injured duo of Nacho and Casemiro have travelled with the team and will continue their rehabilitation in the United Arab Emirates.
This provides both players with a welcome break from their usual routine and allows them to continue their return to fitness work in tandem with the remainder of the squad.
Real’s medical room will operate instead from their training facilities in the Emirates. The medical team will have the benefits of the excellent facilities available which will be utilised by the injured players and the rest of the squad as well.
Nacho and Casemiro will be able to integrate with the other players from a general fitness aspect while at the same time being able to focus on their own individual rehab targets in a different setting.
Having sustained difficult injuries that have clearly required longer healing times than perhaps originally estimated by media sources, the break from routine will be welcome at this stage.
Nacho had been virtually injury-free until sustaining a hamstring strain last season; and being diabetic he takes more care than most players about his diet, fitness and exercise routine.
Nevertheless it just shows how injuries can affect players at any time and the general pattern with these seems to be that once you’ve had an injury of some sort then another is likely to follow.
This right knee injury has not only affected Nacho in a physical sense but has also impacted on continuity as well; since he was becoming a regular both in Real’s side under Julen Lopetegui and in Spain’s national team with Luis Enrique.
Casemiro’s injury is reported as an injury to the syndesmosis of his right ankle. This differs from a routine ankle sprain in that the site of the ligament injured lies between the tibia and the long, thin fibula bone and is therefore slightly above the actual joint proper in terms of location.
Regular ankle sprains usually affect the anterior talo-fibular ligament (ATFL) which lies on the outer lateral part of the ankle joint; and those injuries affecting the syndesmosis generally take longer to heal and can be associated with some degree of instability (Porter et al., 2014)
The main benefit from being away with the rest of the squad is that both players will be fully involved in the match day routines.
In a regular week at Valdebebas the injured players would be involved in home games up to a point; but for away fixtures would normally remain in Madrid for treatment and rehab if the team were playing somewhere that involved being away from Valdebebas for longer than an overnight stop.
Tournaments like the Club World Cup allow the management the opportunity to keep everyone together. Although there will be time for a bit of sightseeing, the priority for the pair will be to continue working and training until they reach the point where they’re ready to join in full training with the others.
Being away from Madrid allows that essential amount of flexibility in their daily routine which provides a break from their regular programme. It also allows that extra degree of flexibility in terms of integration with the remainder of the squad as far training routines are concerned.
The same applies to those carrying injuries where the recovery period is expected to be a lot shorter than either Nacho’s or Casemiro’s. Gareth Bale picked up an ankle injury last week and didn’t play against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.
Treatment for Gareth will continue in the Emirates - unless he has recovered and is able to train of course - with daily progressions being introduced as appropriate until he’s deemed fit enough to rejoin the main group.
Similarly, Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio, who both sustained injuries against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday will be assessed in Abu Dhabi and fitness decisions made in time for Real’s semi-final in midweek against Japanese side Kashima Antlers.
Both will be able to continue treatment as required; and with potentially five injuries to assess on arrival it will be anything but a break for Real’s medical team!
A change in routine helps the staff as well; and although being away for a week brings the luxury of being able to work in a different setting, the media spotlight will be as intense as ever.
Porter DA, Jaggers RR, Barnes AF, Rund AM. Optimal management of ankle syndesmosis injuries. Open Access J Sports Med. 2014;5:173-82. Published 2014 Aug 5. doi:10.2147/OAJSM.S41564