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Barcelona learn Gavi return date ahead of knee surgery

Barcelona midfielder Gavi can expected to be sidelined for anything from seven to nine months with the ACL injury he suffered playing for Spain.

The young star has been one of Barcelona’s most important players since breaking into the first-team shortly after turning 17 two years ago. By 19, he has already made 111 appearances for the club and has 27 senior caps for Spain too.

But injury will now rule him out for the rest of the 2023/24 season and almost certainly see him miss Euro 2024 as well, even if his recovery ends up being a relatively quick one.

Renowned knee expert and surgeon Dr. Ramon Cugat, who has operated on countless high profile footballers including Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany, Pep Guardiola, Ansu Fati and Xavi, has given his opinion and suggests that there will be no nasty surprises when the surgery team open Gavi’s knee up – but the state of the external meniscus will be a key factor.

“The diagnoses are usually correct because today there is a clinical examination, an MRI and even more machines and computers that work and study the cruciate ligament,” Cugat told AS.

“What needs to be defined is what meniscus tear there is. The external one is of greater importance due to the anatomical composition between the femur and the tibia. It’s complex.”

Gavi got injured playing for Spain

Gavi got injured playing for Spain / Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/GettyImages

The surgery is set to be carried out by Dr. Joan Carles Monllau on 28 November.

There is hope for Barcelona fans that Cugat, while acknowledging that “every knee is different”, considers ACL surgery to be “pretty standard” in his expert view. Once the operation is complete, there will be a better idea of just how long Gavi will be sidelined for and whether the player is at risk of also missing the start of next season before fully recovering.

“The current times are always between seven and nine months,” Cugat said.

“The deadlines have been slightly extended. In Italy, however, there have been colleagues who have made players play with cruciate tears after three or four months. What happens is that the risk of re-breakage is higher. I think, in a case like this, you have to be careful.

“You have to leave it its nature. Just as his nature has broken it, let his nature fix it. Because, ultimately, who heals a cruciate ligament, who heals a meniscus? Well, nature. Not the doctors. Doctors don’t cure anything, remember that. We have had players who, with ruptures of the anterior cruciate ligament, who were due for surgery, have been cured with an injection of growth factors. We’ve got them. They are not total ruptures, but partial ones.”

For Gavi, a seven-month recovery would mean getting back into full training at the end of June, which would still be too late for Euro 2024 – the tournament begins in mid-June. At the other end of the expected range, nine months equates to returning in late August. In any instance, carefully rebuilding the player’s match fitness to avoid other setbacks is also a key issue.


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