DAVID SMITH - Friday, August 21, 2009
Jermaine Jones' recovery from a broken leg suffered in the summer is steadily progressing, however his club Schalke 04 is setting no firm date for his expected return.
"Jermaine is doing more work on the training pitch and he's working with our fitness coach, and it seems to be going quite well," Schalke press officer Thomas Spiegel told YA.
"However we haven't given any exact return date right now since there is a policy within the club not to give any dates for the return," Spiegel explained.
"The idea behind it is that if he's behind schedule there will be questions, and we wouldn't want to put him under any pressure."
If the team's silence on the return of their star defensive midfielder seems excessively cautious, it is not without precedent as Jones' highly-competitive nature has led him to push a return from a similar injury too soon, ultimately leading to a far longer spell on the sidelines.
"He had a similar injury with his other leg two or three years ago when he was still with Eintracht Frankfurt but he came back too early because he was eager to play as soon as possible," Spiegel continued.
"However it turned out that in the end he only played two games and was again injured for another half-year, so we want to be very careful about this."
Schalke's strong start to the Bundesliga season has only made it tougher for their dual-citizen star to remain on the sidelines, as their six points after two rounds has them already looking like contenders in the early weeks.
With a long season spread over three different competitions - Champions League, Bundesliga and the DFB Cup - still ahead, however, they are willing to be patient to assure that Jones will be fully healthy and ready to prowl their midfield throughout their upcoming winter and spring scheduling crunch.
"We know that Jermaine is always very keen to get back as soon as possible, so it's rather that the coach and doctors had to stop him and say do not do anything too soon."
While the team remains coy on any date of return, the progression of his return to game fitness is clear, indicating that several weeks still remain until he is ready to return to the Königsblauen lineup.
"There are usually certain steps back after an operation," Spiegel elaborated.
"First he'll do a little bit of jogging, but he's past that stage and is now doing some exercises in the sand like jumping and testing and so on."
"However the next very important step would be to train with a ball by himself, but he's not there right now," he continued, "then the final step would be to train with the whole team."
"He still has to make these two final steps."
Schalke will try to keep their grip on the top of of the standings when they pay a visit to 1899 Hoffenheim on Friday night.