Al-Hilal still hopeful Omar Abdulrahman will play for the club again despite ACL injury

Omar Abdulrahman, one of the biggest names in Asian football, tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on Oct. 20. (Twitter: @AlHilal_EN)
Updated 05 November 2018
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Al-Hilal still hopeful Omar Abdulrahman will play for the club again despite ACL injury

  • Al-Hilal defeated Al-Qadisiya 2-0 on Friday to make it seven wins out of seven in the Saudi Pro League
  • Abdulrahman, one of the biggest names in Asian football, tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on Oct. 20

RIYADH: Al-Hilal have refused to rule out extending Omar Abdulrahman’s loan deal from Al-Ain after their star summer signing was ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Al-Hilal defeated Al-Qadisiya 2-0 on Friday to make it seven wins out of seven in the Saudi Pro League. But that doubtless did little to make it any easier for the Riyadh giants to face up to the prospect of never fielding the UAE playmaker ever again — the loan deal set for only one year.
Abdulrahman, one of the biggest names in Asian football, tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on Oct. 20 in a 1-0 win over Al-Shabab in a major blow to both club and country.
With Al-Hilal paying a reported $17 million to Al-Ain for 12 months of the player’s services — the second most expensive loan signing in football history — there are rumors that they will seek to extend the deal to ensure that the playmaker can return to action at the club.
 “It is early to say what will happen,” an Al-Hilal official told Arab News. “It would be disappointing for our fans, but also for fans of all clubs in Saudi Arabia and the league too, if Omar Abdulrahman does not play here again but the focus at the moment is just making sure that he makes a full recovery.”
From the moment he fell to the ground it was feared “Amoory” was going to miss next year’s Asian Cup, taking place in the UAE in January. 
“The initial concern was from the UAE national team about whether ‘Amoory’ would play in the Asian Cup but we soon knew that there was more serious news for us,” the Al-Hilal official said.
 Earlier this week, Nick Worth, a former medical services director at UAE giant Al-Jazira told Arab News that fans back home could expect the player, who went under the knife in Barcelona on Wednesday, to make a full recovery.
That may not be much comfort to supporters in Riyadh who had been thrilled by Abdulrahman’s early appearances in Saudi Arabia. Even if the player does return to previous levels that saw him offered a contract by Manchester City in 2012 and subsequently linked to a host of European giants, it is likely that it will be too late for him to don the famous blue shirt in a meaningful fixture again before the loan deal expires.
The playmaker will also miss the 2019 AFC Champions League group stage or second round if Al-Hilal get that far.
“At this stage we accept that he is going to be out for the season.  He is receiving the best medical care and should make a full recovery but even should that happen before the season ends, he still would not have time to become fit enough to play any part. Already there are discussions on bringing in a replacement in the transfer window in January.
While Al-Hilal have made a perfect start — win number seven propelled the team to the top of the table for the first time this season above early pacesetters Al-Nassr — the removal of Abdulrahman’s creativity could become an issue, especially with Saudi Arabian international playmaker Nawaf Al-Abed also absent all season with long-standing injury issues.
But encouragingly for coach Jorge Jesus, appointed to the job in June, other players have stepped into the breach. Athletic midfielder Mohammed Kanoo has produced a string of impressive performances and contributed four goals from midfield.
French striker Bafetimbi Gomis has starred since his big-money move from Galatasaray. The backline has stayed solid and without the injury to Asia’s most talented player, it would have been the perfect start to the season.
“I want to thank the fans of Al-Hilal who have given me so much support since I got my injury,” Abdulrahman said on Wednesday.
“It means a lot and I also want to say thank you to my team-mates who keep winning in my absence.”


Celtics sweep Pacers; Warriors, Raptors take 3-1 leads

Updated 22 April 2019
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Celtics sweep Pacers; Warriors, Raptors take 3-1 leads

  • It’s the first four-game sweep for the Celtics since 2011

INDIANAPOLIS: Gordon Hayward scored 20 points and Marcus Morris started a decisive 3-point flurry late in the fourth quarter Sunday to give the Boston Celtics a series-clinching 110-106 victory at Indiana.
It’s the first four-game sweep for the Celtics since 2011 and their second since 1986-87, becoming the first team to reach the second round of the playoffs.
Bojan Bogdanovic finished with 22 points and Tyreke Evans finished with a playoff career-high of 21 to lead the Pacers. It still wasn’t enough to prevent Indiana from enduring its second first-round sweep in three years — the only two best-of-seven sweeps in franchise history.
WARRIORS 113, CLIPPERS 105
LOS ANGELES: Kevin Durant scored 33 points, Klay Thompson added 32 and Golden State beat Los Angeles to take a commanding 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Stephen Curry was in foul trouble for the second straight game and finished with 12 points. Andrew Bogut fouled out with 5:50 remaining in the game with eight points and 10 rebounds.
The Warriors were 17 of 19 from the free throw line. They controlled the boards, 49-33, led by Curry and Bogut with 10 rebounds apiece.
Rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Clippers with a career-high 25 points. Danilo Gallinari added 16 points but was just 5 of 20 from the floor. Patrick Beverley had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
TRAIL BLAZERS 111, THUNDER 98
OKLAHOMA CITY: Damian Lillard scored 15 of his 24 points in the third quarter, and Portland held Russell Westbrook without a basket in the second half in beating Oklahoma City to take a 3-1 lead in their series.
C.J. McCollum scored 27 points, Al-Farouq Aminu had 19 points and nine rebounds and Maurice Harkless added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Trail Blazers. Portland can close out the series Tuesday at home.
Paul George had 32 points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma City. Dennis Schroder added 17 points.
Westbrook scored 14 points on 5-for-21 shooting. He missed his final 10 shots and was 0 for 7 for one point in the second half.
RAPTORS 107, MAGIC 85
ORLANDO, Florida: Kawhi Leonard scored 34 points and Toronto beat Orlando to take a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.
Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell each scored 16 for the Raptors, who can advance with a home win in Game 5 on Tuesday. Toronto has now won three consecutive postseason games, only the third time that’s happened in franchise history.
Aaron Gordon scored 25 for the Magic, making his first seven shots of the second half. Evan Fournier scored 19 and Nikola Vucevic added 11 for the Magic, who committed 17 turnovers that became 21 Toronto points.