Callum Wilson's injury and the best-case scenario for his Newcastle United comeback
And the sight of Wilson limping down the tunnel against Southampton earlier this month was a troubling one for Steve Bruce – and the club’s fans.
More worrying still was the revelation that Wilson would be sidelined for up to eight weeks with a hamstring injury given his importance to the team.
What has Bruce said?
Bruce gave a “devastating” update on Wilson last week.
“Unfortunately, Callum is a tear to his hamstring, and that could be six to eight weeks,” said United’s head coach. "We hoped it was a grade one (tear), something like two to three weeks. Unfortunately, it’s worse than that.
“We’ll have to be without him for the best part of six, eight weeks. We’ll not put a timescale on it, of course, but it’s a bad tear on his hamstring. It’s devastating news for all of us.”
How bad is the injury?
Injury analyst Ben Dinnery, of premierinjuries.com, was initially concerned that Wilson would need surgery.
“Given the timeframe, six to eight weeks, suggests that we’re looking more towards grade two, even pushing beyond that,” said Dinnery.
“The concern for me, initially, was Steve Bruce had said he couldn’t rule out the possibility of surgery. That, again, indicated you were looking well into grade two, and potentially a grade three with extensive fibre damage to the muscle.”
When could he return?
Wilson, potentially, could be ready to return to training late next month, though given the nature of hamstring injuries, Bruce and the club’s medical staff will not rush his competitive comeback given the risk of a recurrence.
The 28-year-old is not expected to be in contention before early April. The Premier League season runs until May 23.
“What we know with hamstring injuries is that they’re ones that you don’t want to push, you don’t want to risk,” said Dinnery. “They have high recurrence rates, which is why you see players integrated slowly into teams and held back until they’re 100%.
“You need to ensure that they can tolerate the demands and physicality of the games for the remainder of the season. Those first 30 days are key. That’s when you tend to see those high recurrence rates. That’s the ‘red zone’.”
Who will decide when he returns?
This will be a team decision, according to Dinnery.
“The pressure’s going to be there for him to return to the team,” said Dinnery. “He’s a very high-status player within the squad. Newcastle tend not to perform very well when he’s not in that starting XI. There’ll be a lot of conversations with the medical teams and coaching staff – and with the player himself. Even if Callum Wilson returns to baseline testing scores, or surpasses them, there are no guarantees that there won’t be a setback.
“Also, the player needs to be involved in those decisions. They’re player-led. If his imagine may come back clear, and baseline testing may be fine, but if the player himself feels that there’s something not 100%, again that can maybe impact on the return.”