Arsenal right back Takehiro Tomiyasu has missed the last eight games with a calf injury. The player initially had an injury to the other calf but then after playing versus Liverpool in a cup match, he aggravated the other calf as he was ramping up to come back from that other calf injury.
With the player now set to miss international games as well – the question becomes what is taking so long?
There’s three key things that really underlie Tomiyasu’s extended timeline:
Firstly, we don’t really know the injury specifics here. For example, this could be a grade two tear out of superficial gastrocnemius muscles, it could be an a grade one tear of the underlying soleus muscle which depending on the specific location can take months – for example PSG’s Sergio Ramos missed nearly three months with a grade one soleus injury; less likely it could be an injury to the plantaris muscle or this could simply be a grade one tear of the gastrocs and the team is being very very conservative with his return.
To the latter point and moving onto reason two, is the fact that recently manager Mikel Arteta has spoken on the fact that the team doesn’t want Tomiyasu to pick up another injury and then enter back into this injury re-injury and rehab cycle. Arteta saide said that the physio and fitness staff wan Tomiyasu to participate in a series of first-team team training sessions in order to show the calf is ready to go.
Additionally this area is notoriously sensitive due to the constant demands placed on it in football.
Thirdly, in conjunction with number two, Tomyasu has only played in basically two games in the last two and a half months which puts a significant dent on overall fitness. Therefore, of course you want to guard against calf re-injury but further that reintegration period after an extended absence also comes with increased injury risk to soft tissue in general.
With Tomi missing the Aston Villa game and now the international break, that gives him an additional two plus weeks to be ready to go for the final 10 game weeks and the critical run for a top four finish. Further, cover RB Cedric Soares’ good cover play has also made that decision much easier in recent weeks.
Last but certainly not least this is yet another example of the knock-on effects of when you try to push through an injury as Tomi did versus Liverpool. Another pertinent example of that this season in the Premier League is Everton’s Domnic Calvert-Lewin who tried to push through a toe injury in the season and has now had several knock-on injuries which cost him the majority of the season.
I’ll keep you updated as we learn more on Tomiyasu’s situation.
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Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT, (@3cbperformance) is a physiotherapist, movement expert, strength and conditioning/fitness coach, sports scientist and mindfulness coach. He runs the LA and online based physiotherapy and athletic performance clinic 3CB Performance and you can subscribe to his Youtube channel (which posts a variety of sports injury, performance, and fitness related content).