I’m ready to rock the joint

Nab­bout plans early re­turn

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - FOOTBALL -

IT was the mo­ment that ended An­drew Nab­bout’s World Cup — a shoul­der in­jury he was told would also cruel his dreams of play­ing in the Asian Cup.

But now the striker who seemed to come from nowhere to lead the line for Aus­tralia in Rus­sia has de­fied the orig­i­nal prog­no­sis to be 2½ months ahead of sched­ule and ready to play again for his club next week­end.

Picked by Bert van Mar­wijk at the point of Aus­tralia’s at­tack in the first two of the Soc­ceroos’ games at the World Cup, Nab­bout dislo- cated his shoul­der for the sec­ond time in a mat­ter of weeks in the last of those against Den­mark.

In­stant med­i­cal opin­ion pre­dicted a re­hab pe­riod of six months, al­most cer­tainly rul­ing him out of Aus­tralia’s de­fence of the Asian Cup in the UAE in Jan­uary.

But aided by a sur­geon spe­cial­is­ing in foot­ballers’ shoul­der in­juries, Nab­bout is back in full train­ing and hopes to be named in Urawa Red Di­a­monds’ match-day squad this week­end.

It’s re­ward for slav­ishly fol­low­ing his re­hab pro­gram since the oper­a­tion and means he pre­dicts be­ing “fit and fresh” when the Soc­ceroos’ Asian Cup squad is picked by Gra­ham Arnold in late De­cem­ber.

“If it was up to me, I’d have been back yes­ter­day but the truth is I feel relieved to be in a po­si­tion to play again so quickly,” Nab­bout told The Sun­day Tele­graph.

“When I did the in­jury against Den­mark, the phys­ios and a few other peo­ple told me to ex­pect six months. But when I got back to Aus­tralia and spoke to the sur­geon, he said he was con­fi­dent we could do it in 3½ to four months, as he’d had NRL and AFL play­ers re­turn in that time.

“He said that would re- quire me do­ing my re­hab ex­actly right and I didn’t need to be told twice. It’s been three times a day every day since.

“The dif­fer­ence is huge from when I did my shoul­der the first time in early May. Then, I skipped a few steps to be ready for the World Cup — if I’d done it prop­erly there’s no way I would have made it to Rus­sia.”

Arnold has kept in touch with Nab­bout dur­ing his re­hab while Soc­ceroos con­di­tion­ing coach An­drew Clark vis­ited the for­ward in Japan last week to do strength test­ing on his shoul­der.

“Pretty much it came up 100 per cent. It’s very strong and very sta­ble,” Nab­bout said. “I have no fear. I’ve been back in full con­tact train­ing and get­ting a whack on it has been a re­lief.

“Now it’s about get­ting back on the park and the rest will take care of it­self. Our coach at Urawa has kept an eye on me and pretty much every day has been ask­ing if I’m ready.

“It’s nice to feel wanted, es­pe­cially as our main striker did his ACL this year and I want to get out there and play my part.

“If I’m se­lected for the Asian Cup, I think I’ll be fit and fresh with seven or eight games un­der my belt hope­fully.”

An­drew Nab­bout dis­lo­cates his shoul­der at the World Cup against Den­mark and (in­set)back train­ing in Japan. Pic­ture:Toby Zerna

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