Ibai Gómez Begins Sprained Ankle Recovery, No Return Date Set
When Ibai Gómez left Sunday’s match against Getafe with an ankle injury it changed everything. Athletic struggled going forward and lost its major spark in the final third. In a way, it cost the team valuable points but the hope was that the issue wasn’t serious. He landed awkwardly just 15 minutes into the game and at halftime the club announced that he had a sprained ankle.
A sprained ankle can mean many different things. A very mild case can see a player return after just a week or two, while a more serious degree of injury could put a player on the sidelines for over a month. If there is a break involved it could be multiple months. Athletic have yet to reveal the exact nature of Gómez’s injury, but early diagnoses suggest that nothing was broken.
It’s clear that the winger was in a lot of pain before leaving the field. He tried to continue playing but eventually had to sit down and ask for a substitute. After the game manager Gaizka Garitano admitted that “It’s an injury that will take some time. There was a lot of damage”. When the team left the stadium everyone took the stairs to the bus except for Gómez, according to Javier Ortiz De Lazcano of El Correo. The 29-year-old was forced to use the elevator and left in a walking boot and crutches.
After returning to Bilbao Gómez immediately started rehabbing his injured ankle. He posted several videos on Instagram showing his workouts and how much better the swelling looked after a session with a trainer. Further tests were also carried out on Monday, though they have yet to be revealed to the public. Regardless of what the exams reveal, Gómez has essentially been ruled out for Sunday’s match against Rayo Vallecano. There is hope that he will be able to return against Real Madrid, but at this point there is no way to gauge how long he will be sidelined.
Being without Ibai Gómez puts Gaizka Garitano in a difficult situation. Ander Capa is also nursing an injury which means that Oscar De Marcos will continue to start at right-back, leaving a big question over the right-wing position. Markel Susaeta would be the natural choice for the lineup, though he has been in poor form this season and even a liability at times. The Mister will have the entire week to decide what to do for Sunday’s game where Athletic have to take all three points to keep pace in the battle for Europe.