The news that Andy Carroll is still not yet ready to return to West Ham United’s first team this weekend was broken to the media on Wednesday by Slaven Bilić. Andy was originally reported to have been expected to be fit to return for the Watford game; but that’s not going to be the case after all.
The Hammers’ squad returned to London earlier this week from the Dubai training camp; and by all accounts, Andy didn’t train while he was there. It looks as though there’s further rehabilitation and fitness work required before he’s ready to contemplate a return to the team.
Clearly, if Andy’s been having treatment in Dubai as opposed to training then he’s still not recovered enough to be in contention for a pace in the team at this stage.
As he’s been struggling with a groin injury for some time now, it makes more sense to focus on ensuring that Andy returns to the team as fit as he possibly can.
Injuries are great for letting you think you’re over them, and everything seems fine. Then all of a sudden as training levels are stepped up and the intensity of the sessions increase, any remaining limitations in the recovering tissues soon become evident.
With any injury to the groin area, twisting and turning place the main stresses on the pelvic region; and as football is all about making sharp, sudden changes of direction then any weakness or limitation present will quickly be affected by the physical demands of the game.
As always when returning from injury, the key in assessing whether people are fit enough to get back into the side is how well they perform in training.
On that note, the early indications following the Dubai trip were positive in the sense that recent absentees Álvaro Arbeloa, Sam Bryan and Arthur Masuaku were all reported to have trained fully without any adverse reactions reported to date.
Additionally, Dubai gave Aaron Cresswell the chance to recover following a muscle contusion picked up against West Brom in the previous game which led to him being subbed at half-time. Indications are, however, that Aaron should be in contention for the Watford game as expected.
With the above quartet managing to put in a full week of work with the squad it appears that the break couldn’t have been timelier.
Following on from last week’s update, when we touched on how the players out with longer term injuries were doing, it’s been reported that both Angelo Ogbonna and Diafra Sakho are coming along well with their recovery programmes following their respective knee and back operations.
It was a nice touch by Slaven Bilić to include both players in the squad for Dubai. We knew that they would be making some progressions but not to the extent where either of them would be in consideration for a return to play in the imminent future.
More often than not, those who have been out for a while with longer-term injuries tend to get left behind on occasions like the Dubai training camp since they’re generally unlikely to be in contention for a first-team place on their return.
Following his knee surgery, Angelo Ogbonna is now reported to be carrying out the exercises appropriate to this stage of the injury; and it seems that he isn’t suffering any adverse reaction, which is good.
Still on that positive note, Diafra Sakho is now reported to be running and the suggestion is that his focus now lies more on regaining match fitness as opposed to working through intensive rehabilitation sessions.
There’s no doubt though that both players will be working to the maximum; but as this will be done under the strict supervision of the club medical and fitness teams, they’ll both be hoping to be fit enough to return in the not-too-distant future.
We haven’t as yet got a timeline for either as to when that’s likely to be; but based on the fact that if Diafra is now running and aiming to build up his fitness, then he’s not likely be too far away from making a return to full training.
We’ll just need to be a bit more patient with regards to Angelo.
Gökhan Töre, meanwhile, continues to have treatment in Turkey at Beşiktaş. Gökhan’s injury was to the medial collateral ligament (MCL) of the knee and this will respond directly to the intensity of the exercises he’ll be doing as part of his rehab programme.
So overall, despite the obvious concern over Andy Carroll, the Hammers’ injury list is shrinking; and it looks as though clear progress is being made with the longer-term injuries as well.