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Club's chief doctor gives Nicolò Zaniolo insight

The club’s Head of Medicine explains to us the next phase in Nicolò Zaniolo’s recovery process…

After undergoing surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Sunday, Nicolò Zaniolo is now beginning the on the road back to recovery.

As he prepares to return to Italy last week, we spoke to the club’s Head of Medicine, Dr. Federico Manara, to learn more about how the surgery went, the expected recovery time for the youngster, and how he is overseeing the rest of the first-team players going into a busy season unlike any other…

How is Nicolò? How did the surgery go?

“Nicolò is doing well, the surgery was completed successfully and the initial response [to the surgery] has been good.”

What will his rehabilitation look like?

“Right now he is back on his feet and is walking with the aid of crutches. If the healing progresses in line with what we are seeing, the player will return to Italy on Friday and will then start his recovery programme at Trigoria.”

Everyone wants to know about the recovery time: is there a date we can expect to see him back on the pitch?

“Given that the recovery period for injuries like this is fairly standard, it has to be made absolutely clear that every athlete has to follow their own process. Given that, there will not be any pressure put on Nicolò, especially given he is eager to be back as it is.”

How will the rehabilitation process work? How many different phases will he need to work through?

“The first phase is tied to the healing of the injured area. After that it will move on to the process of recovering the co-ordination and muscle tone in the areas it has been lost – and then the third phase will focus on getting back up to speed on the pitch. The last step will then be rejoining training with his teammates.”

Is it possible the recovery process for the first injury was completed too quickly?

“Absolutely not. In July the player completed a series of tests and assessments that confirmed that he was ready to resume sporting activity. Beyond that, even before he went away with the national team, at the start of this season we did further tests that showed what great health the player was in - and in both of his legs, where there was no evidence of any muscular imbalance between them.”

So how can another knee injury like this be explained?

“There’s no link with the surgery performed on the other knee, which is why you can’t consider it in any way a relapse. However, there are some scientific studies, focusing on athletes around the same age of Nicolò, that have shown an elevated possibility of suffering the same injury in the other knee.”

We are about to start a new season, with a packed schedule and a short preparation period: is there one aspect you are worried about in terms of preparing the squad workload?

“Within the club there is a level of professionalism and collaboration that is beyond reproach.

“Having said that, I can’t deny that there are a few worries about such an intense and compressed calendar compared with normal, which will see athletes playing every three days almost from here until May. In addition, we have a lot of players who will be involved with their national teams, with a European Championship at the end of such a packed schedule too.

“No competitions have been cancelled, and we are trying to complete a calendar that would usually take 12 months in just 10. And it’s clear that, by reducing recovery times and the amount of training between games, you elevate the risk of injuries.”

 
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