The keys to Ansu Fati's injury problems and the decision he must make

SPORT speak to a specialist to detail the latest setback suffered by the Barcelona forward

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Jordi Carné

Ansu Fati will be operated on Thursday May 6 in Lisbon to solve, once and for all, hopefully, the problems in the meniscus in his left knee. 

The Barcelona forward's situation, due to his potential, his talent and the face he came through La Masia, has generated a lot of concern among the club's supporters. This will be his fourth operation. Fans are no longer worried about the short-term but fear the injury could halt his career in the long term. 

The young Barça star has still not recovered from the injury he picked up in November, which forced him to have an operation to fix the internal meniscus in his left knee. At the time, Barça said he would be out for four months.

There was a first setback in January and things have not gone to plan to the point that, at the end of March, the players is planning to have another operation. It would be the third one since the injury. According to Tot Costa on Catalunya Radio, Ansu's consulting with various experts to decide what to do. He's even traveled to Lyon to get a second opinion. A decision is expected within 15 days during which time he will continue to work on the injury, which swelled up recently.

All experts agree that the meniscus is a very important part of the knee, as it acts as a cushion to prevent the bones from rubbing against each other and, therefore, to protect them during movement. Its internal sector is even more delicate as it is "a loading zone", according to the physiotherapist Lluís Puig, who details, in comments to Diario SPORT, what is happening to Ansu.

“In each suture in the meniscus there is a certain percentage of possibilities that the healing is not carried out correctly," Puig explains. The patient is always advised that not everything is black or white."

Puig, in this sense, makes it very clear that the situation that the forward is going through is not, in any case, atypical or unexpected. What's happening is something that can happen. No more no less.

The physiotherapist uses a very didactic example to explain Ansu's problems in recovery: “When you sew one part of a shirt, the tension can cause another part of the garment to open.”

Puig feels there are two possibilities here: that the intervened part has not sutured well or that the initial operation has affected another area. In any case, the footballer's options now are either to continue to opt for regenerative treatment or opt for a meniscectomy, that is, the surgical removal of a part of the meniscus.

The first alternative is riskier, as its success would depend on a knee response that has not been positive so far. The second is not only much more likely considering the circumstances, but it would allow the matter to be settled.

An important decision

If Ansu decides to remove the damaged part of the meniscus, Puig estimates that his return to the pitch could take another two or three months. He remarks that it is not possible to be exact with the timings, since the period would vary depending on the percentage of the knee removed and its evolution.

In that hypothetical case, yes, the danger of relapse would be minimal. Puig also assures that Barcelona fans do not have to worry about the career of the Spain star. However, he notes that meniscectomy could have long-term consequences. At the end of the day, the player would have to spend many years playing at the highest level and that would force him to compensate for the absence of a meniscus area with preventive work and permanent load dosages.

Although he still has to make the decision, the reality is that it is very difficult for Ansu to wear the Barça shirt again this season, especially considering that Ronald Koeman's team only has 11 games left (10 league games and the final of the Copa del Rey).

The Euros with Spain is also unlikely for Ansu, who has exhibited impeccable maturity on many occasions and there is no doubt that he will not be obsessed with any whim of hope, so his participation in the competition cannot yet be ruled out. The next few days will be key for a recovery that has encountered many more pitfalls than anticipated.

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