Updates from Monday, Aug. 18
Neymar has been officially cleared to play for Barcelona in Monday's Gamper Trophy clash against Leon.
Barca's official Twitter announced:
Updates from Sunday, Aug. 17
Sport English provides a synopsis of Luis Enrique discussing when Neymar will return to action:
Enrique confirms both Neymar and Xavi will be available for Monday night's Gamper match against Club Leon.— SPORT English (@Sport_EN) August 17, 2014
Updates from Thursday, Aug. 14
Pilar Suarez of Goal.com reports Neymar's belief on when he could return to the pitch:
Neymar could make his eagerly awaited return to action in Barcelona's pre-season clash with Leon on Monday.
The 22-year-old attacker has been sidelined since the quarter-final stage of this summer's World Cup, when the Brazil star picked up a back injury which ruled him out of the rest of the tournament.
Neymar is believed to be optimistic about his chances of featuring in the Joan Gamper trophy clash with Mexican side Leon next week, when Barca play at Camp Nou under new coach Luis Enrique for the first time.
Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 13
Barcelona provide an update on Neymar's recovery:
Barcelona also released a statement on Neymar's status:
Although he has yet to be given a clean bill of health by Club doctors, Neymar completed a full session under Luis Enrique this evening, as the squad had their second session of the day. The Brazilian has been gradually getting up to speed with the rest of the players since reporting back for duty with the back injury he picked up at the World Cup.
Updates from Monday, Aug. 11
Neymar's recovery remains on track after he was seen training with his colleagues on Monday.
101 Great Goals provides the latest image of Barcelona's Brazilian superstar:
Neymar took part in Barcelona training this morning pic.twitter.com/2vE19rSi5h— 101 Great Goals (@102greatgoals) August 11, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 6
Barcelona confirmed on Wednesday that Neymar passed his pre-season health check and is now on a three-week crash course to get him ready for the start of the 2014-15 campaign.
Barca's official website reported:
Leo Messi, Javier Mascherano, Dani Alves and Neymar, who trained with their colleagues on Tuesday, returned to the club for their medical tests. They all passed with flying colours and are now set for three weeks of intense training in the build-up to the start of official matches in three weeks’ time.
Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 5
Neymar has taken a significant step toward a full recovery from his broken vertebra, as reported by the official Barcelona Twitter account:
Messi, Mascherano, Alves and Neymar are back in training with coach Luis Enrique http://t.co/XzzRPh1jno— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 5, 2014
Barca's website elaborated on Neymar's current condition, revealing he is yet to take part in full training with the rest of the squad:
Neymar underwent a check up on his back injury at the Club this morning , with the Club Doctors expressing their satisfaction with his recovery which will continue with a specific training programme. His recovery will be monitored before a decision is made on a full return to training.
Updates from Thursday, July 31
Neymar is hoping Barcelona's Aug. 18 Gamper Trophy clash with Leon will provide the setting for his return from injury, according to The Associated Press (via the Daily Mail):
He is targeting the Gamper Trophy fixture with Mexican side Leon on August 18 for his comeback, which would come a week before the start of their La Liga campaign against Elche. ...
... Speaking at a promotional event in Japan, Neymar said: 'I am recovering bit by bit from the injury and I will arrive in Barcelona at 100 per cent.
'I want to have a good season and I would like to help my team-mates get good results.'
Updates from Wednesday, July 30
Neymar will turn to what Marca describes as a "miracle doctor" in order to return from his back injury as soon as possible ahead of the new season.
Sergi Font reports:
Neymar has decided to place himself in the hands of Enric Cáceres, one of the foremost back specialists around, whose previous clients include Alberto Lopo, Santi Cazorla, Thierry Henry and Yaya Touré.
Cáceres shot to public attention when Gonzalo Higuaín sought a second opinion over the treatment of his herniated disc back in December 2010 and the doctor incurred the wrath of then Real Madrid coach José Mourinho by suggesting a conservative approach to prevent the Argentine going under the knife. Barcelona, however, have worked with the 61-year-old on several occasions and have complete confidence in the Catalan, who is the head of the Spinal Unit at the city's Hospital Universitari Quirón Dexeus. ...
... Despite the photos doing the rounds of the Brazilian star wearing an eye-catching corset-like orthopaedic belt, the forward has made good progress since having his World Cup cut short by the transverse process fracture he sustained at the knee of Colombia defender Juan Zúñiga.
With all eyes still watching, Brazil international and Barcelona standout Neymar continues to undergo treatment for the broken vertebra he suffered against Colombia in the 2014 World Cup.
Selecao Brasileira has the latest:
Neymar in Ibiza, protecting his back, as he still endures treatment. pic.twitter.com/Bf6Hd9QdqF— Seleção Brasileira (@BrazilStats) July 26, 2014
The Brazilian talisman went down at the least ideal of moments for the host nation, when Colombia defender Juan Zuniga's knee connected with Neymar's back late in Brazil's quarter-final victory. He was quickly then after diagnosed with a broken vertebra by team doctors, ending his World Cup and all but assuring a late start to the 2014-15 season for his club.
Brazil went on to be defeated 10-1 in their final two appearances.
Zuniga has since called Neymar to apologize for the incident, according to The Associated Press' Tales Azzoni. But Neymar still was shaken up over the injury, Zuniga's play and how much more serious it could have been, per AP:
If it had been 2 centimeters to the center..., I could be in a wheelchair.
I don't know if he was trying to hurt me, but if you understand football you know that it was not a normal challenge. I can't protect myself when I'm not facing the play. The only thing that can protect me from someone coming from behind are the rules. I couldn't protect myself and I ended getting hurt.
Still, Barcelona made it clear on their official site that their prized player is doing "very well" in his recovery—which will culminate with a final phase of treatment starting on Aug. 5.
After being one of the biggest signings in world football history, Neymar and his club have plenty of urgency in getting the 22-year-old back on the pitch sooner rather than later. But with such a severe injury that will take several months—not weeks—to heal, time shouldn't be the biggest factor for both parties.
Luis Suarez's recent arrival would seem to be a buffer for Barcelona in elongating Neymar's return, but Suarez's four-month FIFA suspension puts a damper on that idea. With Alexis Sanchez headed to Arsenal, more weight will be on Lionel Messi and Pedro's shoulders when the La Liga season kicks off on Aug. 24.