Athletic Players Still Unable To Start Training Following Positive PCR Tests

Iñaki Williams and Unai López tested positive in the initial screening (AC)

Two weeks have passed since Athletic’s first team reported to Lezama for medicals and PCR testing. The initial screening saw six players test positive for COVID-19 and until today there had been no word from Athletic on the matter. All six players were scheduled to undergo more testing on Friday and, if negative, would have a second test on Monday to determine whether or not they could return to training.

The club announced in a medical update today that none of the six players have been cleared to start training at Lezama. In short, it means that all six players tested positive for the virus once again. According to the protocols in place the players will now be tested every three days until they receive two consecutive negative results. At that point they would be cleared to start training and the best case scenario would be that Monday’s tests yielded negative results.

It’s truly unclear when the six players will be able to join their teammates at Lezama. They have already been ruled out for Saturday’s friendly against Logroñés, but won’t be the only ones missing out. As part of the medical report the club provided an update on other players as well.

Iñigo Martínez has been dealing with a hip injury but is expected to return to training between the end of the week and early next week. Likewise, Mikel Vesga suffered a muscle injury in his left leg and will likely be back on the field within the next few days as well.

Yuri Berchiche and Peru Nolaskoain have been nursing a groin injury and ankle sprain respectively since the start of preseason and have been doing mostly individual recovery work. A new assessment will be made for both in the coming days, though playing this weekend is unlikely at this point. Lastly, Ibai Gómez has already started the recovery process after fracturing his right clavicle. The 30-year-old won’t need surgery and could be medically cleared within the next five at best.

Having a total of 11 players unavailable for Saturday’s friendly puts Gaizka Garitano in a difficult situation. The manager will instead hand valuable minutes to several young players, though the goal of preseason friendlies is to get the team into a good rhythm ahead of the new campaign. It’s been a challenge to prepare the squad with so many absences and with La Liga set to kickoff in just three weeks the Lions are running out of time.

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