Football News

When will Arsenal get Bernd Leno back? Injury news analysis on Premier League, La Liga & Serie A

By Dr Rajpal Brar

Injury news Bernd Leno at Arsenal and more | Premier League La Liga Serie A

Published: 17:29, 24 June 2020

As the football restart continues, the injuries continue to mount, an expected consequence of a quick ramp up period after a long delay.

Read on for a recap of key injuries and updates (plus one long-awaited return) from this past week.

Premier League

Bernd Leno (Arsenal)

Arsenal goalkeeper, and arguably the team’s best player over the last two seasons, Bernd Leno landed awkwardly after a collision with Brighton striker Neil Maupay while gathering the ball in mid-air and was stretchered off the pitch.

On the landing, Leno’s right knee was forced into an unnatural externally (outwardly) rotated and hyperextended (pushed backwards) position, which puts significant stress on the knee joint. Leno’s screams of pain were audible through the artificial crowd noise.

Despite initial fears of a long-term knee injury and ligament rupture, which would have cost Leno both the restart and next year, Arsenal issued an update that Leno’s testing came back favourably after detailed assessments. He is dealing with a “moderate ligament sprain”, which translates as a grade 2 moderate ligament tear, and he is expected to return to training in four to six weeks.

This is overall extremely good news for a club that has been in dire need of such. Leno will miss the restart but should be very much 100% for the start of the 2020/21 Premier League season.

For a deeper look into Leno’s injury, return timeline, and possible impact on his career, see the following video:

Granit Xhaka (Arsenal)

The Arsenal medical update also announced that midfielder Granit Xhaka was back in training after being stretchered off in the opening minutes of Arsenal’s game vs Manchester City with an inversion (inwards) ankle sprain.

His return to training indicates his injury was very likely a mild grade 1 sprain, which has an average return to play of 7-10 days. A fit Xhaka would provide the Gunners with a much-needed midfield boost on Thursday against Southampton.

Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal)

The final key piece of news in Arsenal’s recent update was that young rising star Gabriel Martinelli suffered cartilage damage to his right knee in training. The Athletic provided more details, stating that the team suspects meniscus damage with the player set to have more scans and meet with a specialist to determine the specifics.

If the injury is in fact a meniscus injury and requires surgery, the Brazilian striker will assuredly be out for the rest of the restart and his return timing for next season dependent on surgery specifics.

James Milner (Liverpool)

James Milner injury

According to manager Jurgen Klopp, Milner has a minor tweak in his hamstring, the same issue he’s dealt with multiple times this season, having missed eight games in total across two injury spells in 2020.

Unfortunately for Milner and Liverpool football club, hamstring re-injuries are very common with nearly 30% of athletes re-injuring the hamstring within the first two weeks back and facing increased re-injury risk for nearly a year. A reality that Milner is experiencing right now.

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

Aguero was substituted off the pitch before the stroke of halftime during Monday’s win over Burnley, reportedly due to a left knee problem that occurred while shooting some time earlier in the match.

According to manager Pep Guardiola, the Man City striker had already been dealing with a “knee issue” for the past month during the lockdown and this setback may end up costing Aguero the rest of the restart.

Aguero visited orthopedic specialist Dr. Cugat in Barcelona to undergo surgery on Wednesday and will now begin his recovery.

Eric Garcia update (Manchester City)

Man City’s 19-year-old centre-back Eric Garcia is currently in concussion protocol after his nasty collision with goalkeeper Ederson during the closing stretch of Man City’s 3-0 win vs Arsenal on June 17th. According to Guardiola, he is expected to return in seven to 10 days, which is the Premier League standard after these mild traumatic brain injuries.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek returns for Chelsea

Ruben Loftus-Cheek injury return

Ruben Loftus-Cheek returned for Chelsea after missing 13 months and one week following a left achilles rupture on May 5th of last year. As you would expect, he didn’t play the entire game with Christian Pulisic coming on for him and eventually scoring the leveler vs Aston Villa.

Manager Frank Lampard hailed the player’s return while stressing the importance of patience. Patience that is borne out by the research on players returning from achilles ruptures, which indicates it can take over two years of seasonal play to return to pre-injury performance levels.

La Liga

Frankie De Jong (Barcelona)

De Jong has missed Barcelona’s last three games with a diagnosed right soleus strain. The soleus is the deeper lying calf muscle and his return remains a fluid situation dependent on how the muscle responds to treatment and activity progressions. 

The return timeline on calf strains tends to vary significantly and physio can be touch and go due to the higher incidence of re-injury.

Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

Real Madrid’s captain left the pitch after a knock to his knee, but not before becoming the highest scoring La Liga defender of all time. He has reportedly avoided any serious injury, and I don’t expect him to miss any time unless Madrid’s medical staff play it very conservatively.

Eden Hazard (Real Madrid)

Hazard was subbed off in the 61st minute vs Eibar after being struck on his previously fractured and slow-healing right ankle. However, no injury was sustained and the removal was precautionary, according to manager Zinedine Zidane. Like Ramos, I don’t expect Hazard to miss any time. 

Although scary in the moment, taking these kinds of hits is critical for Hazard to regain full confidence in his ankle. One of the key obstacles after multiple injuries to the same area and extended absence can be fear of re-injury and movement, something termed “kinesiophobia”.

Serie A 

Sami Khedira (Juventus)

Khedira suffered a partial tear of the adductor longus muscle on the inside of the thigh, specifically near the tendinous portion which leads to a longer rehab. Accordingly, reports in Italy suggest he may be out for the remainder of the restart.

Alex Sandro (Juventus)

Alex Sandro picked up a grade 1 medial collateral ligament (MCL) knee injury during the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday last week and is currently undergoing physio. Research indicates the average return to play is 10 to 14 days.

Dr Rajpal Brar, DPT, is a physiotherapist, movement and mindfulness coach. He runs the LA-based wellness and athletic development/performance clinic 3CB Performance, and you can subscribe to his Youtube channel (which posts analyses of Lionel Messi and more) by going here.


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