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Two months or three? The key to De Bruyne's hopes of a rapid recovery

18:00 EAT 17/08/2018
Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City
The midfielder has been officially ruled out until November but he is hopeful he can be back before then, though it depends on the treatments used

Manchester City have stated that Kevin De Bruyne will miss three months with a knee injury, but the midfielder himself is hoping to be back in the starting line-up before the end of October. 

The Belgium international has damaged the lateral ligament in his right knee and he does not require an operation, though he will return to Dr Ramon Cugat's surgery in Barcelona for further checks.

For now, De Bruyne will be continually assessed by City's medical staff, who will have to make a decision on how to manage his rehabilitation.

One of the methods most commonly used in football and other sports is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy, which can boost the recovery time for tendon, ligament and muscle injuries.

It is not guaranteed to work, though, as it depends on how each individual responds to the treatment. De Bruyne, however, has generally reacted well to injuries during his career and if he heals quickly, it could make a big difference to City's season.

Over the course of the next two months, the Blues will play their first two Champions League group games and face Huddersfield, Wolves, Newcastle, Fulham, Cardiff, Brighton and Liverpool in the Premier League – a presentable run of fixtures up until the highly-anticipated trip at Anfield on October 7.

However, if De Bruyne were to miss the full three months, he would also sit out another four league games, including crucial clashes with Tottenham and Manchester United, as well as City's third and fourth European outings.

The difference between two and three months of recovery time could, therefore, be hugely significant.  

"We are going to handle that, support him, hopefully we'll see him regularly," Pep Guardiola said on Friday. 

"My advice to him now is to rest, to forget a little bit what happened, take the holidays that he didn't get [after the World Cup] for two or three weeks.

"Then, he'll start training individually and then with the group. After that, we'll be waiting for him with open arms."

De Bruyne's hopes of returning sooner than expected hinge upon the methods used to treat him, the intensity of those methods and how well he reacts to the treatment.

The scheduling of this year's remaining international fixtures could also come to his aid.

On New Year's Eve last year, he was stretchered off the pitch following a bad tackle from Crystal Palace's Jason Puncheon, but he was fit – and willing – to start against Watford 48 hours later.

During his first season at the Etihad Stadium, meanwhile, he suffered a similar knee injury and he recovered well, returning after 65 days – just over two months.

Sources close to De Bruyne have stressed that he is targeting the same recovery time yet again and given there is an international break after City's game against Liverpool, that would potentially allow him to build his fitness up and make his comeback against Burnley on October 20.

He will not have it all his own way, however. City's doctors will dictate how he is treated and they will decide how far he will be pushed.

While City have publicly stated that he will be out for three months, it is believed that doctors familiar with the injury feel that the timeframe would better defined as eight to 12 weeks. 

If City's medical staff, on Dr Cugat's advice, see fit to step up his recovery and get him ready after two months of rehabilitation then they will do so, and treatments such as PRP therapy will be considered.

At the start of the year, City's hard-nosed doctors were instrumental in getting Leroy Sane back to fitness within a fortnight, despite initial fears that he would be out for months.

It should be taken into account that Guardiola may have exaggerated the extent of Sane's injury in public to make a point about the rough treatment his players were receiving at the time, but sources close to the club's staff stressed that Sane was being pushed hard – but responsibly – behind the scenes so that he could return as quickly as possible.

If De Bruyne wants to make an equally rapid recovery, and City's doctors believe it is in his and the club's best interests, he could well be return by the middle of October, ready to face Spurs and United.