Raúl García Returns To Training At Lezama, Mikel San José Prepares To Start Against Real Betis
Raúl García has missed several weeks of action with a muscle injury in his leg and it’s taken him some time to recover. For the past week or so he’s trained apart from the group alongside Aritz Aduriz, Mikel Rico, Oihan Sancet, and Iñigo Lekue but things looked more positive on Wednesday. The midfielder did some running drills with the ball which was believed to be the last step in his recovery process.
There was hope that García would return to regular training on Thursday, but instead he was once again apart from the group. Finally, on Friday, he rejoined his teammates and went through the entire training session without any complications. Athletic have yet to lose a league game under Garitano and getting García back in the team will give the manager even more options in attack. The real question now is when will the 32-year-old be back on the field.
It’s almost certain that García won’t start against Real Betis on Sunday, but there is a good chance that he could be on the bench. As long as he continues to train normally on Saturday he could be cleared for the match but there is also the possibility that Garitano will be cautious in bringing him back into the team. With a massive Basque Derby against Real Sociedad coming up next weekend the manager could be looking to protect the midfielder with that game in mind.
Mikel Rico also got a bit of good news on Friday as he was able to join his teammates for the first part of training before leaving the field to work individually with a trainer. He’s been sidelined since injuring his ankle back in November. Rico eventually returned to training earlier this month but suffered a ruptured ankle which he has been recovering from over the past few weeks. Aduriz, Sancet, and Lekue continued to train separately from the group as they are recovering from individual injuries of their own.
Garitano was left with a difficult decision to make following Beñat’s yellow card against Villarreal last weekend. The booking means the midfielder is suspended for Sunday’s game against Real Betis and the manager appears to have chosen Mikel San José as his replacement which was expected. San José has played well this year, especially under the new coach, and spent Friday’s training session working alongside Dani García with the starters. This entire week has been used to prepare for the upcoming clash at the San Mamés and the team will have one more training session at Lezama on Saturday which will take place in private.