It’s no surprise that Eden Hazard’s return is being carefully managed by Real Madrid. It wouldn’t make sense to rush him back at the present time just because he’s now training.
Zinedine Zidane is happy with his squad right now and while he wouldn’t say no to the Belgian’s availability, it’s a question of striking the right balance.
When he does return, it will give Zidane more options. Karim Benzema has been shouldering the brunt of the load in recent weeks and it will be great to see that load shared.
And apart from anything else, the injury list is reducing. Only Marco Asensio is currently unlikely to be declared fully fit in the near future; but based on the progress he appears to be making with his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rehab, that won’t be too far away either.
It’s a really positive time for Real Madrid where injuries are concerned. Apart from Marco and Eden, players like Gareth Bale who who missed the Atlético game with relatively minor injuries will quickly return.
Taking into consideration the early part of the season when players seemed to be going down right, left and centre, to have almost the whole squad available at this time of year is a real plus.
Normally, in a typical season, clubs can expect roughly 50 injuries spread across an average squad of 25 players. Some players will pick up more injuries than others and some will hardly miss any games at all.
In football, the number of muscle injuries sustained is always a topic for debate. Yet as the game involves sharp, sudden changes of direction, sprints and jumping, the muscles are always going to form the greater proportion of injuries reported at any club whether elite or not.
Injuries like those sustained by Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio are also typical of football; but are sustained at far lower frequencies.
In women’s football though, injuries to the ACL are known to occur at a higher rate than they do in the men’s game and for those Madrid fans who now take an interest in CD Tacon, this will probably be something that becomes evident in the seasons to come.
Every club has their share of longer-term injuries and for Real Madrid, Marco Asensio’s has been the main one to note. He sustained his ACL injury during the round of pre-season fixtures but by now will be well within sight of his targeted return of being back before the end of the season.
However, nobody really puts pressure on players with injuries along the lines of ACL tears to return to the team since the risk of recurrences are too high to take any chances with; added to the fact that an average rehab period takes around eight months; give or take a few weeks.
With injuries like microfractures, though, perhaps we are less patient. There is a tendency to define the recovery period from injuries like Eden Hazard’s in terms of weeks as opposed to months.
We talk about six to eight weeks as though these times are set in stone when in reality the recovery period is defined by the healing process.
As soon as that estimated period is over, people start talking about when the players involved will be making their return and if they are a week or two late in doing so, then questions are being asked.
That’s not happened with Eden Hazard I have to say although it must have been tempting for Zidane to include him in the squad for the Atlético Madrid game; but with Cholo’s side not the easiest to play against that wouldn’t have been a realistic option.
Looking back, that appears to have been the best decision.
Yet there’s already talk of Eden being involved against in the Copa del Rey against Real Sociedad; but based on the stature of Madrid’s opponents that might not be a realistic option at this stage.
I guess the final decision will be based on how well Eden performs in training this week and where he is in terms of match-fitness.
Players need to be able to return with as little risk as possible of succumbing to a recurrence of injury; and in football of course the medical discharge to return to training isn’t quite the same as being given a full discharge to return to playing.
As always, Zidane will bring Eden Hazard back when he’s completely fit and ready to play. He wouldn’t be doing anyone any favours otherwise.