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.”


Francesco Molinari looking for ‘dream’ end to season in Dubai at DP World Tour Championship

Updated 15 November 2018
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Francesco Molinari looking for ‘dream’ end to season in Dubai at DP World Tour Championship

  • 2018 has been an incredible year for Molinari
  • If Molinari wins this weekend, it would make him just the third player in history to win multiple Rolex Series events

LONDON: Francesco Molinari is looking to end a fairytale season by becoming the European No. 1 at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, which starts today, and the first Italian to achieve the feat.
2018 has been an incredible year for Molinari, with a maiden Major victory in the Open Championship in July, which followed a first Rolex event victory at the BMW PGA Championship in May. He has also not missed a single cut this season, a run that extends over four years in regular European Tour events.
And in a glorious Ryder Cup for the Europeans, he became the first player from the continent to win five points out of five, while securing the winning point in his singles match against USA’s Phil Mickelson.
Speaking to journalists ahead of today’s tee-off, the Italian said: “It feels incredible, a new position for me, I’ve never been here in the past.
“I think it’s just a consequence and a sign of an incredible season. I would have never guessed that I would be here in this position if you told me in April or May this year but it’s been an incredible summer, topped by an unbelievable Ryder Cup.
“Really, it’s a dream season for me and it’s nice to be here in this position. Hopefully I’ll be able to close it out. I know it’s not going to be easy and I’m not making any assumptions but I’ll do my best on the course to do the job.
And when asked about his prospects of winning the Harry Vardon trophy this weekend, he said: “You can have the best week of your life and win one tournament but to win a competition that lasts throughout the season, with the amount of talent there is right now on the European Tour, is something really hard to do but it’s also still hard to figure out for me how I’m here in this position.”
Molinari needs to finish tied-fifth or better at the Jumeirah Golf Estates to seal the Race to Dubai crown, but Ryder Cup partner Tommy Fleetwood — the man he formed such a strong bond with in Paris — is the only man who can prevent him the perfect ending.
Victory for the Englishman on the Earth Course is the only way he can deny Molinari the title, but the Italian was full of praise for his “best friend” and would not begrudge Fleetwood if he successfully defended his Race to Dubai crown.
“I know we said this and we’re going to sound really cheesy but if I don’t win, I’d rather see him win than anyone else,” he said.
“We really are good friends and he’s had an amazing season. To think that he won last year and to come here, still with a chance to win two in a row, it’s incredible, really.
“So fair play to him. What I can say for me is that it’s been a great season and however it goes this week, I’m still going to have lots of great memories from all of what I’ve done this year, and probably the best memory is what we’ve done together with him in France.
“I can’t really be mad at him, even if he wins.”
If Molinari wins this weekend, it would make him just the third player in history to win multiple Rolex Series events and he praised the introduction of the European Tour’s prestige level of tournaments.
“There’s a few events that we target every year,” he said. “It’s great for us to have the opportunity to play in such special tournaments.
“Especially for guys like me, playing a home event in Italy that is part of the Rolex Series, just gives a completely new meaning to the Italian Open.”