2020 has presented all kinds of challenges. And in a footballing sense, a big battle for Lucas João.
The only fly in the ointment from our New Year’s Day win at Fulham was an injury to the Portuguese forward late in the match – it looked innocuous, but ended up sidelining him for three months. His year halted on January 1st.
And he was just about ready to get back into contention, before football was suspended... but the extended break has instead presented Lucas with a longer period of solid recovery.
“To start the year with an injury is not good – that wasn’t in my plans! It was frustrating to be injured,” said João.
“I’ve been lucky though – this situation hasn’t been too bad for me and it’s helped me to be fit for when the league reopens. I had some time off, enjoyed myself, spent time with the family, improved my skills in the kitchen! And now I’m fit and ready to go.
“It might not have looked like it, but it was a serious injury. I pulled my hamstring, and it was really bad. I was out for 12 weeks. It didn’t look so bad at the beginning, but then I had a scan and we realised that it was not good.
“It was hard; with these kinds of injuries, you might feel better after four weeks but you cannot play because of the risk of re-injury – the percentage is so high. You just need to wait and work. That’s what I’ve done.
“Now I’m ready to go and I’m happy for that. I hope that I can help the team as soon as the games start.”
Now we elevate through the stages – we returned to non-contact training a fortnight ago, now contact has returned and the groups are bigger… the next step is the restart.
We’re in a middling position, but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility to make up the ground on the sides in the play-off places. It’s ambitious, but a target to aim towards nevertheless.
“Training is nearly back to normal,” he continued. “There are some rules, yeah, but it’s starting to be like normal because we are working with a full squad. That’s much better.
“Thankfully they found a solution to play again. Nine games left, so many points to go, a long league to finish. It’s great that the league will be finished.
“You never know what can happen in football – there are nine games to go and eight points to be there… let’s see what happens, game by game.”