Danny Welbeck is out of hospital after two operations to fix his broken ankle, but why did the striker need two quick-fire surgeries and what will his recovery be like?
Both surgeries, as far as I’m aware, were carried out by the world-renowned orthopedic surgeon, Professor James Calder.
Professor Calder previously operated on Jack Wilshere as well as Gareth Bale. In 2017 he was awarded a PhD by the University of Amsterdam for his thesis entitled “Advances in the Management of Ankle Injuries in Athletes”. [Download his thesis here]. In short, Welbeck was in the best possible hands.
Welbeck’s first surgery – on Friday – was to stabilise his ankle but it is the second surgery that gave the most concerning update.
That surgery was to repair damage to the joint and, while Arsenal said that the surgery was a success, joint damage is a major problem.
If you don’t believe me, just ask Abou Diaby.
One of the main reasons Abou Diaby struggled to regain any sort of career following his ankle injury was due to the damage to the joint.
When I broke my trapezium – the joint that allows your thumb to swivel – consistent pain led to an appointment with a specialist and being told that it is impossible to break a joint and not cause permanent damage, all of which could be seen in an x-ray, years after the event. Even now, some 15 years later, it hurts a lot more than any other joint, especially when it gets a knock.
A straight tib/fib fracture, like the one suffered by Aaron Ramsey, is a much more straightforward problem to recover from. And we all know the problems Ramsey has suffered since he was Shawcrossed.
Eduardo is another example we can look to, although he almost lost his foot, so severe was his injury. But, again, it was the joint problems that caused him the most issues.
Arsenal are expected to outline Welbeck’s recovery timeframe at some point this week but whatever they say we must remember to look at it as an optimistic reference point and be prepared for lengthy delays, which will be frustrating for everyone involved.