This time last week West Ham United were building up to the Southampton match and wondering who would be fit and who wouldn’t. Now a hamstring injury to Michail Antonio and a medial ligament injury for Manuel Lanzini have added to the mix.
We didn’t really expect James Collins to line-up against the Saints since he hadn’t trained fully with the team in the full week leading up to the game.
Doubts remained over Manuel Lanzini who had returned injured after being away with Argentina and despite media optimism that’s never a good sign!
Pedro Obiang and Andy Carroll were still unavailable as were Sam Byram and Winston Reid. Manuel Lanzini didn’t play against Southampton, and neither did James Collins.
As we well know, Michail Antonio DID play and sustained a recurrence of a hamstring injury after only nine minutes; immediately coming off to be replaced by Edimilson Fernandes.
Apart from the result, the only positive was the return of the Swiss international; who by that time had recovered from his ankle injury and had played earlier that week for his national team.
Making his return to football at international level wasn’t the ideal scenario when perhaps it might have been less risky turning out in a club game first. But he played; and to date no adverse reaction to this has been reported.
The situation this week isn’t really that much different; and David Moyes will prepare for the trip across the capital to Chelsea without Michail Antonio and in all probability without Manuel Lanzini either.
David Moyes likes to keep his cards close to his chest and is becoming quite renowned for giving very little away with regards to potential team line-ups and it’s the same when it comes to the injuries.
There’s nothing wrong with that. Releasing a list of names is fine; and David’s has already stated that Manuel Lanzini ‘is a doubt’ for Sunday. We haven’t heard much about James Collins so it’s difficult to predict whether he’ll play or not this weekend.
And as stated, the situation with the four longer-term injured players - Pedro Obiang, Andy Carroll, Sam Byram and Winston Reid - won’t have changed that much in a week although specific updates are often scarce.
In terms of injuries, though, the Hammers websites, blogs and newspaper columns don’t actually tell us very much.
Information is limited to saying that people will be fit soon; that Andy Carroll is getting closer to fitness, that Pedro Obiang’s return isn’t far away and that James Collins is expected to be back in the team shortly.
Since very little is said that can be taken as a concrete indicator as to when the players injured actually will return; most of the injury talk can be taken as pure speculation.
But from the way Michail Antonio pulled up last Saturday you don’t need an official statement to work out that this injury was as bad as you’re likely to get.
There’s no doubt whatsoever that where Michail is concerned he’s out and will be for some time.
His hamstring injury needs surgery so that’s going to take a while; and as far as the recovery time goes afterwards, he’ll likely be doing fitness work well into the summer.
The issue will be later in the season if it becomes touch and go in terms of the Hammers achieving Premier League safety and suddenly Michail’s return is reported to be looking a lot closer than originally expected!
We really need to beware of reading articles that say the injured players are now ‘‘running a lot better’’ or that the leg is getting stronger.
Worse still is the comment that ‘‘he’s desperate to play and wants to get back into the team at the earliest opportunity”. Who doesn’t?
When it all turns to be ‘paper talk’ and rumour yet again, it will be Michail who takes the brunt of the criticism for being injured in the first place - closely followed by the medical team who ‘‘haven’t managed to get him fit’’.
It’s really a no-win situation for everyone concerned. But we’re the eternal optimists in football and nothing is ever as bad as it seems.
The player who hobbles off one week looking as though he’s received a career-ending injury usually returns sooner rather than later.
We all just need to learn to be a bit more patient. But try telling that to the manager when there’s a big game coming up and the remainder of the season - and probably the next one - is riding on the outcome!