Well is he going to be fit to continue?
Last night’s match in Paris saw the boys in green put in a great performance on the European stage. It’s fair to say that we could have easily taken all three points. Unfortunately, this result did have an impact on Jonathan Walters.
It is well known that he has been struggling with an Achilles tendon problem for the last few weeks. The Achilles tendon is the common tendon from the calf muscles into the heel bone.
It is a notoriously tricky problem for anyone from an international footballer to a mid-week 5-a-side social footballer or tag rugby player. Jonathan Walters reported last night that he was struggling with this issue from the very first minute!
As you can see from the image, pretty much all activity on the football pitch requires load to go from the calf muscle and through your Achilles tendon to propel the athlete forward to run & jump.
There is little doubt that the Irish medical team are using all of the resources available at their disposal in an effort to get Jonathan fit for Saturday. This is a very quick turnaround for an injury such as this one.
I suspect that they will be using a battery of treatments including anti-inflammatories, Icing, Soft tissue for the calf muscles and most importantly rest.
The crucial component in this management strategy is controlling loading, or the weight that he takes through that inflamed tendon. He should potentially be on crutches for 48 hours. This would allow the Achilles to recover without the stress of his bodyweight on every step.
This is a tricky conundrum for the medical team today. How long can they afford to rest Jonathan from team training in preparation for the Belgium match? Martin O’Neill and his team have probably already discussed this and may have even made a decision at this stage on ruling him out.
It’s very difficult to see how Jonathan Walters will be fit for Saturday – albeit we don’t know how serious the tissue damage is. An MRI scan will most likely show the true extent of the damage. At this stage all we can work off are the soundbites from Management and player alike.
We’re all hoping for a speedy recovery and that his removal from the game early might just give him a chance for the big game on Saturday.