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Zuniga Close To A Return?

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Badly missed in the months he's been out of the lineup, it sounds like Camilo Zuniga might finally be returning soon.

Jamie McDonald

After being out since October thanks to a knee operation that just hasn't seemed to heal properly, Tuttonapoli is reporting that Camilo Zuniga is finally set to make his return to the squad, saying that he could be available as soon as Sunday's match against Serie A leaders Juventus.

The wingback has been out for almost five months with the knee injury, despite initially being expected to miss a little over a month at the outside. He's returned to training several times, but always disappeared shortly thereafter, with vague mentions of continuing discomfort. Given that the surgery was supposed to correct a reoccurring problem, him being out so long with apparent complications from it is something of a bad sign.

Still, if he is healthy and ready to come back in to the squad, Zuniga will be welcomed back with open arms. Anthony Reveillere has been one step shy of terrible for the last couple of months, and the experiments with Henrique Buss as a fullback haven't exactly been wildly successful either. With Maggio still out for several weeks, a boost to the depth at fullback will be well received.

Zuniga will also be wanting to push himself to return to top form as quickly as possible, as his position in Colombia's squad for the World Cup is in serious doubt after such a long injury layoff. If he plays well, his path to the squad would be fairly clear with Pablo Armero (remember him?) only playing once since he moved to West Ham on loan. Before that, though, he has to prove that he's healthy first, and that will be a challenge after such a long and borderline mysterious layoff.

While it's doubtful that he'll be starting right away, it does seem fairly likely that Zuniga will play some role against Juventus if he's deemed ready, as a late-game defensive sub is almost certain to be needed almost no matter the situation. Hopefully he'll be ready and doesn't, you know, break again when he's called upon.