Pirates’ Injuries Explained
30 December 2012
Orlando Pirates’ Brazilian fitness trainer Japhet Borges has given a unique insight into just how his defender Happy Jele finally managed to return to the PSL playing arena a year after a serious knee injury.
In November 2011 the former Bafana Bafana right back suffered severe damage to his anterior cruciate ligament against Wits, but following the correct medical procedures, gave a spirited display during Bucs’ recent outings.
“Jele spent two months on crutches after his operation,” Borges reveals to Soccer-Laduma. “When you suffer an injury like that on the main knee ligament (the one that gives stability to the knee) it has to be reconstructed by removing a ligament from another part of the body. It’s a very complicated surgery where holes are made on the bone to connect the ligaments.
“It then took him another six to seven months working with our physiotherapist, doing exercises on the trampoline, sand before he came to me. We started by running Jele slowly on the field, with him first wearing trainers then boots. He trained for short periods, ran with the ball did crucial moves like stopping and turning before being allowed to actually play as a ‘freeman’ in short matches. That’s where nobody touched him and he was instructed to avoid collisions then slowly but surely returned to full fitness.”
Interestingly, for injured soccer players to gain full use of their knees, Borges says it’s important for them to work daily on strengthening their thigh muscles while he’s also given a bit of detail about some of the club’s other men on the injured list.
“Thighs are responsible for the stability of the knees,” he continues. “So any person with that sort of knee injury must exercise his thighs every day. I regard an anterior cruciate ligament injury as serious as a snapped Achilles tendon, which will keep Rooi Mahamutsa out for eight months. It’s another very important part of the body, very difficult to heal.
“There’s a big difference in the hamstring injuries of Oupa Manyisa and Benni McCarthy. Oupa had hamstring muscle fatigue which normally has a 45-day recovery period but Benni actually snapped his hamstring playing for Bafana Bafana and that’s why it’s taken him about three months to get back into the team.
“Moeneeb Josephs should be back soon, he’s also training with me. When a goalkeeper is injured he must train normally with the team to condition his body and only later can he work with his ‘keeper coach doing specific movements which relate to what is expected on match days.”