With an interesting ten days coming up for Real Madrid, Santiago Solari gave the team a couple of days off for which the players will have been grateful. There’s a busy period coming up and every bit of rest available is a help, no matter how short.
And as performances on the field have improved recently, it’s good to note that the injury situation has improved as well!
This time last week Real had six players who stayed behind for treatment and / or rehabilitation instead of travelling to Rome for the Champions League fixture. Now there’s only Nacho and Casemiro remaining on the official injury list.
Both Keylor Navas and Sergio Reguilón were included in Solari’s initial 20-man squad for the Valencia game; and along with Álvaro Odriozola and Jesús Vallejo, who joined the squad again for training last week, numbers have increased on the pitch at Valdebebas.
As the injured players continue to recover and join in with the full squad in the build-up to the return match in the Copa del Rey this Thursday against Melilla, only Casemiro and Nacho remain unavailable.
It’s a nice feeling for Santiago Solari. Having only two players missing training is a bonus for most clubs at this time of the year and for that he’ll be grateful.
The visit of Melilla to the Bernabéu provides him with a pleasant choice of whether to persevere with those who might just be carrying a niggle or two or to rest them before Sunday’s trip to Huesca and give more playing time to those who have been patiently waiting in the wings.
Next up after Huesca are CSKA Moscow in the Champions League; so this might well be the time to utilise the full squad as much as possible rather than take any chances with any players who might not be at their peak in a physical sense.
Once again injury problems have hit Real Madrid hard this season; but despite inheriting a squad where several players were unavailable through injury, the Argentine coach has admirably resisted the temptation to throw people back into the team at the earliest opportunity.
The down side of Real Madrid’s excellent 2 - 0 win over Valencia was evident when Gareth Bale was substituted in the second half and was immediately seen in the dug-out applying an ice-pack to his inner thigh; suggestive of a groin injury.
With no noticeable single or specific incident obvious at the time it was a case of ‘wait and see’ but hopefully this won’t amount to anything for either Solari or the medical / fitness teams to be concerned about.
It will be interesting to see what the situation is by the time the Melilla match comes around.
Both Nacho (knee) and Casemiro (ankle) are reported to be working hard at their own rehabilitation following their respective injuries; but sadly neither of them were ever going to be out for only a matter of days.
Ligamentous injuries of the knee rarely recover inside the first week or two unless they are only very minor sprains.
It’s clear in Nacho’s case that his injury is more medium to moderate in terms of severity so it’s unlikely that he will be rushed into making a return in the immediate future.
Likewise with Casemiro. There’s a tendency in football to talk about ankle injuries as being ‘just a sprain’ and sometimes nothing could be further from the truth.
Injuries to the ankle can vary and the recovery period can also differ dependent on the area of the ankle injured as well as to the individual structure(s) involved; so neither the coaching or the medical staff will be keen on taking any risks at the moment in terms of pushing him harder than they need to in rehab sessions.
The immediate priority will be in ensuring that both players’ recoveries are progressive and that when they finally do return to training then they’ll be as strong as ever.