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As the injuries resolve, West Ham United continue to improve

West Ham’s injury situation has certainly improved in the past few weeks; and it coincides with events on the pitch

West Ham United v Arsenal - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

When the games are coming in thick and fast injury situations are more difficult to assess. Those few days in between matches don’t leave an awful lot of time for the position to change.

Longer-term injuries aren’t going to be affected too much by an additional few days unless people are in the very late stages of rehab, training fully and virtually ready to make a return to play.

Like James Collins for example, who did appear on the bench against Arsenal on Wednesday despite being reported as not being ready to make a return to the team.

Chicharito also recently made a return to the team but from the bench. However, a few weeks out injured with a hamstring muscle strain hardly compares to James’ situation where he’s been missing from the side since mid-September.

James sustained an ankle injury during the away draw with West Bromwich Albion and had to be replaced soon afterwards.

West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

At the time, the injury was reported to be an ankle ligament sprain which occurred towards the end of the first half.

Following a scan a few days later which confirmed the medical people's diagnosis, everyone seemed a lot happier but James hasn’t played in the first team since.

In addition to missing what has virtually amounted to the last two months, he also missed Wales' World Cup qualifying games against Georgia and the Republic of Ireland.

Being passionate about Wales, the fact that they didn’t qualify for Russia 18 will have greatly disappointed him; even though he’s since officially announced his retirement from international football.

As the ankle injury improved, James then attempted to make a comeback a fortnight ago at Wycombe Wanderers.

But a relatively low-level hamstring injury he had felt in training a few days beforehand was beginning to be uncomfortable after about twenty minutes so he came off at that stage.

The immediate concern of course was about whether this was a fresh injury or if James had simply aggravated the tight hamstring muscle he felt a few days beforehand.

The biggest fear at the time was over whether or not James had reinjured the ankle; meaning that it wouldn’t have been right in the first place.

Fears over the latter were quickly dismissed as soon as the diagnosis of a muscle injury was announced; but it meant that James was once again out of action for another spell.

He then had to sit and watch as David Moyes replaced Slaven Bilić; waiting for the chance to prove both his fitness and worthiness of a place in the new-look Hammers team - even though it looked for a time as if nothing had changed.

Points continued to be dropped, injuries were still being picked up and the team struggled until the signs became evident that improvements were in the offing.

On the injured list when Slaven Bilić was dismissed were José Fonte, James Collins, Michail Antonio and San Byram.

West Ham United v Bolton Wanderers - Carabao Cup Third Round Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Michail Antonio started the ball rolling by recovering enough from a succession of niggling injuries sustained after returning from hamstring surgery to give everyone a morale-boosting lift. Gradually others like Winston Reid and Andy Carroll began to recover.

West Ham United have gone through a period this season where several different players - including Edimilson Fernandes who recently turned his ankle - have picked up a succession of minor but irritating injuries.

And although these hadn’t actually ruled people out for weeks on end, they were still troublesome enough to cause players to miss some game time. Also affected were Winston Reid and Chicharito, while Cheikhou Kouyaté is another who has recently been troubled by hamstring problems.

Now with James Collins set to return properly and José Fonte well into his rehabilitation, only Sam Byram of the longer-term group is the only player who remains unavailable.

However, time as they say is a great healer; plus treatment and rehabilitation of course (!) so hopefully Sam won’t be too far away from making a return.

Provided no further injuries are sustained, then David will be able to look forward to fielding a team of his own choosing as opposed to picking one based purely on the availability of players.