Angelo Ogbonna - Knee Surgery
Diafra Sakho - Back/Hamstring
Gokhan Tore - Knee
Alvaro Arbeloa - Calf
Arthur Masuaku - Returning to practice shortly
Sam Byram - Resumed Training
Andy Carroll - Groin, late fitness test.
Cheikhou Kouyate - Late fitness test.
Aaron Cresswell - Late fitness test.
Reporting of long-term injuries in any club setting isn’t often given priority.
It’s not through deliberate neglect either. Media attention tends to focus on players' injuries that are likely to have an effect on the next game and the old saying 'out of sight, out of mind' is particularly true of those who have been out of action for some considerable time.
That, however, doesn't mean that everything stops in terms of injury treatment and rehabilitation. In most cases, nothing could be further from the truth. Sometimes, though, that's the way it can appear.
Unless as a player you are involved in the next match, it can sometimes seem like you are forgotten.
In terms of media reporting, players who are on the long-term injury list can to all intents and purposes, appear to be in much the same condition as they were when the injuries were sustained. Frequently, from the club’s aspect, few indicators are given as to when an individual's return to the team is likely to be.
Often, this can be simply down to a lack of information released by the club and the extent of this can vary from place to place.
Additionally, the difficult subject of patient confidentiality can affect the amount of information made available. Clubs tend to want to manage injuries privately as opposed to divulging every single piece of information about a player's recovery.
Generally speaking, specific information might be scarce but an overall picture will usually be evident.
Currently on the long-term list at West Ham are Angelo Ogbonna, Diafra Sakho, and Gökhan Tore. Arthur Masuaku and Álvaro Arbeloa are both reported to have returned to full training this week.
The trio will all have been making progress following their different injuries but often accurate information about the injury can be hard to come by. We get to know the areas affected such as the knees or ankles, but the clubs don’t always go into more detail about what particular structure is actually injured.
Vague information such as ‘ligament damage’ or ‘muscle strain’ makes accurate reporting difficult.
It can be almost impossible, therefore, to attempt to predict return to play dates or even ascertain progress in rehabilitation without actually knowing which particular part of the knee or ankle has been injured.
As we said, in terms of progressions in rehabilitation it can appear that not much is happening with the longer-term injured players and then all of a sudden they’re back in contention for a place once again.
The knee injuries at the moment are all going to be progressing at different stages. Angelo Agbonna has only just undergone surgery so he’s not going to be anywhere near running as yet and he’ll just be concentrating on getting the swelling down and the actual knee moving.
Static cycling will be the next progression together with building up his thigh muscles in the gym but even this will be at a relatively low level; and will only emphasise how far away from full fitness Angelo will be in real terms at this stage.
Gökhan Töre has also been having treatment in Turkey at Beşiktaş; which is the normal practice when someone comes in on loan.
The parent club always takes over the medical care and that’s not a reflection on the medical facilities wherever the players are loaned to. It’s just generally accepted that injury treatment where longer term problems are concerned are managed ‘at home’.
Simple, straight-forward knocks and bruises together with minor strains and sprains are usually dealt with by the clubs where the players are loaned to, but in Gökhan’s case, a sprain of the medial collateral ligament (MCL) usually takes several weeks.
As Hammers Head of Sports Science and Medicine, Stijin Vandenbroucke, recently explained on the club web page, there’s no magic cure for injuries such as these and you have to let nature take it’s course.
It’s also been reported that Diafra Sakho is working hard at his own rehab following back surgery in December 2016. Exceptional care is always needed after back operations because the spine is so important from a stability aspect.
Any surgery in this region needs careful and specifically-tailored rehabilitation which at times can feel extremely frustrating for the player involved. However, it’s vital not to try to rush anything at this stage and progress can feel and appear to be slow.
The medical team will have had their hands full in recent weeks with not only the longer-term injured to contend with but also the run-of-the-mill injuries that go hand in hand with football at that level.
Andy Carroll and Sam Bryan both picked up muscular injuries of late and have been under rehab; but both are reported to be on the mend and will hopefully be back in action fully in the immediate future.
So as we approach the weekend and focus on the games to come, the longer-term injured will once again be out of sight; but not necessarily out of mind.
It’s to be hoped that as the next few weeks pass, the trio return to the team without anyone else coming in to take their place in the medical room!