Lukas Podolski Hamstring Injury Could Keep Arsenal Forward out Three Months
Before Arsenal fans finished celebrating the Mesut Ozil move, they were brought back to earth by news about Lukas Podolski. The hamstring strain he suffered in the team's win against Fenerbahce is significant, and he could miss as much as three months.
Podolski strained his hamstring just after the break. The injury originally looked severe, as Podolski was unable to leave the pitch under his own power. Later tests, according to sources familiar with the injury, showed a Grade II strain, which can be described as a moderate tear with what a doctor would call a "palpable defect." That defect is a tearing of the muscle fibers significant enough to feel with the hand.
A strain is a tearing of the muscle or tendon fibers. If you think of the muscle as a rope, a Grade II strain is like a chunk out of the rope with fraying around it. The muscle's strength and integrity are tested, but the muscle has not completely broken. A complete rupture—a coming apart of the full thickness of the muscle—is referred to as a Grade III strain.
Podolski left the club to be examined by the German national team physicians, who diagnosed the severity of the injury.
Podolski is expected to be a major part of a German World Cup team, and he should have time to heal before the nations come together in Brazil next summer.
While Podolski is expected to heal without the need for surgical intervention, this injury takes a lot of time and patience. Even after the muscle heals, Podolski will have to focus on strengthening the area, maintaining the area with proper physiotherapy and preventing further problems with gait analysis.
Interestingly, the club recently opened a new medical facility, which was designed in large part to prevent just these sorts of situations. Arsenal is one of the more forward-thinking medical staffs in English football—led by Dr. Gary O'Driscoll and Colin Lewin, the brother of England's lead physio, Gary Lewin.
With Podolski's injury, Aaron Ramsey's groin strain and the continued fragility of talented starlet Jack Wilshere, the medical staff could end up as key to Arsenal's season as any transfer. Arsene Wenger will have to shuffle his front line as he waits for Podolski's return, perhaps leaning more heavily on Olivier Giroud.
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