Arsenal hit by new Wilshere injury setback

The highly rated youngster is set to miss the opening three months of the 2012-13 season as he continues to make a slow recovery from his reccuring ankle and knee problems
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Injured Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere looks almost certain to miss at least the opening three months of the new season in a fresh blow to his comeback hopes.

Boss Arsene Wenger said last weekend that he hoped the England international, who has not played a competitive match for 14 months, could figure for the Gunners in October.

The issue could be that the size of the bones around the ankle are obviously very small, yet you have the entire load of the body on the ankle and heel region – they are the main load-bearing bones of the body. They provide us speed and agility but at the same time, if they are put under repetitive stress, they can easily become affected.

It could be that he takes an extraordinary amount of stress on a certain point; you can be really unlucky that way with the shape and of your hip bone or femur for example. That can cause an increased amount of stress at the ankle which requires a long process of rehab.

If a player is unable to reach an improvement in their function with strength, control, balance, conditioning, etc. then he might find that this becomes a niggling problem. Much depends on the rehab plan and how soon a player returns to activity.

What has probably happened is he has lost a level of strength with each surgical procedure, got a little bit back during rehab but then had another surgery and been set back again. That can be draining both physically and mentally within a year’s time and takes its toll on a person.

Arjun Viswanath

Physiotherapist Specialist
BMI The London Independent Hospital

But has learned that, privately, the club are far more pessimistic about the midfielder’s recovery and do not expect him to return to first-team action until mid-November at the earliest.

The 20-year-old is regarded as some way short of full fitness and has not progressed beyond light training separate from the first-team squad, despite spending the whole summer working on his rehabilitation at the club’s London Colney headquarters.

Wilshere has suffered a series of setbacks in his recovery from an ankle injury originally sustained on England duty against Switzerland on June 4 last year.

He pulled out of Euro 2012 after missing the entire 2011-12 campaign and undergoing minor knee surgery in May.

Wenger has delivered a series of increasingly negative medical bulletins about the recovery of one of Arsenal and England’s most precious assets.

The youngster was left behind to continue his rehabilitation while the club embarked on their pre-season tour of Asia and the club have been forced to again plan for the start of the new campaign without the star of their 2010-11 season.

"Hopefully, we will get Wilshere back playing for October," said Wenger told reporters on Sunday, before Arsenal's final match of their Asia tour in Hong Kong.

"With Abou Diaby returning, it will be like signing two new players. The squad will be strong and competitive."

Arsenal will continue to handle Wilshere’s recovery carefully, but it is not the first time that they have had a player supposedly on the road to recovery suffer seemingly endless setbacks.

The Arsenal medical team have, in recent years, struggled to get to the bottom of long-term pain with Tomas Rosicky, Thomas Vermaelen and Abou Diaby, who have all had to endure nearly entire seasons on the sidelines.

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