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.”


Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

Updated 20 January 2019
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Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

HUDDERSFIELD: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was far from satisfied despite a 3-0 win away to Huddersfield Town on Sunday that saw his side cut Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League table to four points.
Liverpool’s compelling 4-3 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday heaped huge pressure back onto reigning champions City but they were rarely troubled by a Town side that look a certain bet for relegation this season.
City’s first goal, a deflected strike for Danilo in the 18th minute, brought up their 100th goal of the season in all competitions before Raheem Sterling scored a diving header from Leroy Sane’s cross in the 54th minute and Sane himself made it 3-0 with a calm finish just two minutes later.
For Guardiola, it should have been an afternoon of enjoyment as his side again proved their willingness to push Liverpool all the way this season.
The City manager, however, has forged a footballing reputation based on sublime performances as well as ruthless goalscoring and, on that basis, his team’s showing in West Yorkshire was not a success as the visitors never really clicked into gear on a day against a Huddersfield side who had parted company with manager David Wagner on Monday.
“During the season you have these kind of games,” Guardiola said. “It is important to win. We have scored many goals in all competitions.
“(But) the way we played, we didn’t deserve more than three goals. We will improve in the future.
“We have to demand more from ourselves in every game and do our best, but sometimes it’s difficult.
“Today we are happy we have won but after immediately we have to analyze. During the season you have games when maybe you are not in the top level and it is important to win these games.”
Although City’s fans were happier than their manager following this result, Guardiola could at least take some heart from the fact his side again refused to blink first in the race for the title.
For the second consecutive week, City kicked off knowing Liverpool had already won their weekend fixture and that, consequently, the onus was back on his players to secure three points as well.
Once again, Guardiola’s side managed to do that following up the 3-0 victory over Wolves with this showing and the City manager was more than happy to remind everybody that silverware is not handed out for another four months.
“One team has been better but we’re in January and there’s many more games to play,” he added.
“You don’t win or lose the Premier League in January. We have to focus on what we have to do. If Liverpool win, we have to win. And if Liverpool lose then we also have to win.”
This match was a baptism of fire for Huddersfield’s caretaker boss Mark Hudson and while the Terriers showed impressive fight to inspire some hope this season, this defeat still left them 10 points adrift of safety.
If, as expected, the Borussia Dortmund Under-23 coach Jan Siewert is appointed as Wagner’s permanent replacement, nobody would blame him if he spent his first day in the job preparing for a return to the second-tier Championship next season.
“It’s been a long week,” admitted Hudson.