Napoli have been without Arkadiusz Milik for two months, and life without the striker has rarely been easy for them. Milik suffered a torn ACL while playing for the Poland national team in October, an injury that left Napoli struggling badly in the final third until the last couple of weeks. With ACL injuries typically taking six months or more to recover from, many have feared that he wouldn’t be available again until almost the end of the season.
In a press conference for Napoli’s annual calendar, though, Milik had some positive thoughts to share with fans.
My knee? It’s really good. After two months I feel good, but judging my condition is not up to me, that’s the doctor’s job. I’m training, I’m back running, but the doctor will decide.
Is playing Real Madrid a motivation to return sooner? It’s an obvious question, after this draw it’s clear that the desire to return is even greater.
I hope to return to the pitch as soon as possible, for January-February. I don’t know when I’ll start training with the team, I’ll have to wait for the time to get playing again.
I want to thank all the Napoli fans, it was amazing the number of messages I received from the fans when I got my injury.
I just want to return to the pitch as soon as possible.
-Translated quote source: Football Italia
That’s obviously not a guarantee that Milik will be back in January — that would be just three months after his surgery, and that would be awfully quick — but if he’s feeling like he can get back by then, his recovery must be going well. And if he can return in January, that would leave him available to play against Real Madrid in the Champions League, and that would be absolutely huge and important for Napoli.
The most important thing, though, is that Milik just comes back healthy. We’ve seen two very different recoveries from ACL injuries in Napoli players over the last few years -- Lorenzo Insigne came back from an ACL tear after about four months and looked like he had hardly missed a beat. Rafael Cabral, though, went from an explosive, confident goalkeeper to one who struggled to adjust and react after almost seven months of recovery time.
The focus for Napoli and Milik needs to be on getting all the way back to health, not just getting healthy enough to get back on the pitch. He’s too good and too valuable to the team to risk worsening his injury problems by rushing him back before he’s ready, even if he wants to be on the pitch for such a huge tie.
Regardless, though, it’s just good to see him being so positive. Hopefully he is healthy and ready to go when Napoli square off with Real Madrid, because their chances of victory will be much, much better with a healthy Arkadiusz Milik in the team.