Fans told not to fear for Omar Abdulrahman future after ACL injury

'Amoory' became the second most expensive loan signing ever when he moved from Al-Ain to Al-Hilal for $17 million this summer. (Al-Hilal)
Updated 02 November 2018
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Fans told not to fear for Omar Abdulrahman future after ACL injury

  • Al-Hilal and Al-Ain star should be fit for pre-season training in the summer after ACL injury.
  • A full recovery is expected, but UAE talisman will definitely miss January's Asian Cup.

LONDON: Omar Abdulrahman should be ready to start pre-season training in the summer if his operation and rehabilitation from a serious knee injury goes to plan, according to a medical expert with experience of football in the Gulf.
The midfield star, on loan at Al-Hilal from Al-Ain, suffered a devastating blow on Oct. 20 when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee following an innocuous incident in the Saudi Pro League game against Al-Shabab. The 27-year-old has had to wait for the swelling to subside before going under the knife of Dr. Cugat in Barcelona on Wednesday. Cugat is one of the leading practitioners of knee surgery, performing operations on the likes of Pep Guardiola, Xavi and Kevin De Bruyne.
Nick Worth, the former Medical Services director at UAE giants Al-Jazira, said Abdulrahman, 27, is in safe hands and that the injury no longer puts his career in jeopardy.
“It’s a good, very well-practiced operation these days,” said Worth.
“It used to be career threatening, but he’s young enough to come back from it. They usually take a piece of hamstring and use that to create the new cruciate ligament. Sometimes they take the patella tendon at the front of the knee, but that’s slightly old fashioned, so they take a section of one of three hamstrings as, over time, the hamstring grows back.”
Abdulrahman is one of the most skilful players in the region and is capable of unlocking the very best defenses with a stroke of his gifted left foot. Is there a fear he may not return the same player and may lose a bit of trust in his body?
“He will lose a little bit of range of movement, but not enough to make a difference,” said Worth.
“Players are usually fine when they come back. The biggest thing is getting confidence back in the joint. It may take a few months for him to make a tackle and take a tackle, but there is no reason why he can’t make a total recovery. People have to give him time and give him that reassurance.”
Abdulrahman will miss the rest of the Saudi Pro League season and, most devastatingly for him, the Asian Cup in the UAE early next year. But Worth said the player should look at the bigger picture and the longevity of his career.
“It usually takes between six to eight months to come back,” said Worth. “At the bigger clubs, like Manchester United and Arsenal, it takes longer as they subscribe to the view that the longer the rehab, the better success rate of the comeback.
“I would say that Omar will be looking at being ready for the start of pre-season in the summer. It will probably take him a month or two to get his full fitness back, so you’ll probably see the best of him in October. Al-Ain have spent a lot of money on rehab and their facilities so he will be in really good hands if he goes back there.”
Fascinatingly, Worth, who spent nearly three years working in Abu Dhabi, said ACL injuries are five times more common in the UAE, where Abdulrahman has spent the last 12 years after moving there as a 15-year-old, than anywhere else in the world.
“Weirdly, the UAE has a vastly increased occurrence of ACL injuries,” Worth said. “There are a higher number of ACL injuries because people there can have an angle at the top of the tibia that has a greater slope backwards than the greater population and that sometimes makes them genetically more susceptible to an ACL.
“There are also number of different factors, like the number of times they pray and the nutrition, and that’s why the UAE has some of the top surgeons, because the injury is so common. There was an American orthopedic surgeon called Charles Brown and he had this clinic in Abu Dhabi and was one of the world’s best. He would spend day, after day, after day repairing the same injury.”
Worth worked at Al-Jazira in the UAE capital and watched Abdulrahman from the dugout when they played against Al-Ain in what was always a high-octane affair.
“I saw him play many times,” said Worth. “There was always so much speculation about him going abroad and I know he went to Man City on trial.
“He has a great amount of talent and is a great player, very exciting to watch.”


Embiid returns to help 76ers beat Nets for 3-1 lead

Updated 21 April 2019
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Embiid returns to help 76ers beat Nets for 3-1 lead

  • The 76ers seized a 3-1 lead in the first-round series against the Nets

NEW YORK: Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid returned from injury to score a game-high 31 points and grab 16 rebounds, powering the 76ers to a 112-108 NBA playoff victory at Brooklyn on Saturday.
Despite a third-quarter incident that saw two players ejected, the 76ers seized a 3-1 lead in the first-round series against the Nets and could advance in the Eastern Conference best-of-seven matchup with a home victory Tuesday.
In the other Eastern Conference game, Khris Middleton finished with 20 points and nine rebounds as the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks put the Detroit Pistons on the brink of elimination with a 119-103 win. The victory give the Bucks a 3-0 lead and they can wrap up the series with a win on the road in the Motor City on Monday.
Philadelphia, down by 10 points early in the third quarter, battled back most of the second half before taking the lead on a run of eight points by Embiid, who missed game three with a sore left knee.
A slam dunk and layup by Embiid gave the 76ers their first late lead at 102-101 but, after an exchange of layups and three-pointers as well as turnovers, fell behind 108-107 on a basket by Brooklyn’s Joe Harris with 25 seconds remaining.
On the next 76er possession, Embiid flipped the last of his seven assists to Mike Scott, whose corner three-pointer put Philadelphia ahead to stay 110-108 with 19 seconds remaining.
Australian Ben Simmons — who added 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the 76ers — stole the ball from Brooklyn’s Jarett Allen and Tobias Harris sank two free throws for the last of his 24 points to clinch the triumph.
Caris LeVert led the Nets with 25 points while Brooklyn had 21 points each from Allen and D’Angelo Russell.
Cameroon star center Embiid was issued a flagrant foul in touching off an altercation 4:18 into the third quarter that saw Philadelphia’s Jimmy Butler Brooklyn’s Jared Dudley ejected. Embiid, who had elbowed Allen in the face in game two, was whistled for a hard foul on Allen that prompted Dudley to rush at Embiid, taking down the Sixers big man. Butler swung his left arm at Dudley, who wound up in the front row seats with Simmons at one stage, to earn his ejection.
In Detroit, Brook Lopez tallied 19 points and had seven rebounds and five blocked shots and Eric Bledsoe scored 19 points for the Bucks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo delivered 14 points and 10 rebounds for his third straight double-double in the series and Nikola Mirotic chipped in 12 points.
Detroit’s hobbled star Blake Griffin had 27 points in 31 minutes after he missed the first two games of the series with a sore knee.
Griffin was cleared with his leg heavily wrapped but it didn’t change the outcome.
The Pistons have now lost 13 straight playoff games dating back to 2008. In the Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets — led by game highs of 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists from Serbian playmaker Nikola Jokic — pulled level with San Antonio at 2-2 in their opening series with a 117-103 road triumph over the Spurs.