SWINDON TOWN: Navarro's long road to recovery

Swindon Town's Alan Navarro suffers his latest injury against Coventry

Swindon Town's Alan Navarro suffers his latest injury against Coventry

First published in Sport by

NOT many footballers would be relieved to hear they’d sustained a medial ligament injury just a couple of months into the new season. For Alan Navarro, the news was a godsend.

The Swindon Town midfielder, who is steadily regaining full fitness following the knee problem sustained in the dying moments of the Robins’ 2-2 draw with Coventry last month, explained in a candid chat with the local media on Monday how he was terrified he’d snapped a cruciate ligament for the third time in his career as he lay in agony on the County Ground turf on October 13.

As a youngster at Tranmere in 2002 Navarro suffered a similar injury in his left knee before missing most of the 2010/11 campaign after damaging his right cruciate during Brighton’s League Cup clash with Northampton.

Between them the two absences kept the Scouser sidelined for 18 months, so when physio Paul Godfrey told the 31-year-old that he had a grade two medial ligament tear - and a potential rehab time of no more than eight weeks - Navarro was delighted.

“I knew straight away something wasn’t right. It was hard to explain whether it was a pop or a crack but I knew something wasn’t right. It wasn’t the same sort of pain as when I did my cruciate but I was thinking because I’d done my cruciate before whether it was something to do with that,” he said.

“Luckily enough, when I had my scans the cruciate was just bleeding so it was still intact and still strong, but it could be eight, nine or 10 months before it starts feeling right again.

“You can be walking around the house and just clip your toes on the door and the physio says you’d still feel it.

“I was in pain straight away and I was thinking ‘no, no, please’ and I was in the treatment room and my wife came in with my little boy and she said ‘please, it’s not your cruciate is it?’ “I just thought straight away ‘please, not my cruciate’. The physio looked at me and he was 80 or 90 per cent sure it wasn’t my cruciate because my knee was still strong but it was a bit lax on the medial side and the scan confirmed that.

“It’s a relief. It takes a weight off your shoulders.”

Six weeks on and the former MK Dons man is closing in on a return to Town’s matchday squad.

He enjoyed, or perhaps endured, his first full training session back with his teammates on Monday and hopes to feature as one of the 18 men picked by manager Paolo Di Canio to face Doncaster on December 8.

After a month-and-a-half in the gym doing a combination of leg weights, squats, leg extensions and leg presses designed to help him regain the strength in his right knee, Navarro is itching to get back to competitive action.

“It’s not nice at the moment. It’s nice to be back with the squad and getting my running done but obviously I’m still getting used to the running again,” he said.

“Watching the boys playing every week has been hard. I’ve been used to this in the past, I’ve had a couple of six-month injuries. When you’re out for six months it’s just a nightmare so it’s lucky it was only six weeks or seven weeks this time.

“I’m going to be pushing in the next two weeks to hopefully be a part of the game coming up. We’ll see how it goes with the training and if my knee stays strong.

“Even if I’ve been out for six weeks it’s still not a long time but people don’t realise when you do these injuries the first month, six weeks, two months are the easiest.

“You just accept it, there’s nothing you can do. It’s when you’re close to getting back that is the hardest, the last couple of weeks.

“You’re not exactly fit but you’re champing at the bit to be ready.

“I’ve been running with the boys but you can see I’m slightly behind. I kept up with them for a certain part but the last couple of runs I was so many seconds behind.

“It hurts to be honest with you because mentally you’re like ‘I was there a couple of months ago, I was in the second group’ and now I’m a couple of groups behind.”

Swindon fitness coach Claudio Donatelli has instructed Navarro throughout his recovery not to set himself any targets, in case a failure to meet them triggers psychological setbacks.

However, he is now in a position where he can start thinking about his comeback, and how he will deal with a return to match action.

He said: “It’s going to be different because it’s a different part of the knee. This part of the knee is where you pass the ball on the inside of your foot and you’re using it all the time.

“Now and again I’m going to be thinking about it which is why I need the training to get past the confidence side of it.

“The cruciate side, because you’re out a lot longer, when you get back you’re stiff, sore and mentally tired. I think it will be a lot easier this time because I’ve only been out for six weeks.”

Comments (12)

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7:11am Thu 29 Nov 12

Ollie Reed's Parky dance! says...

Sounds like he has a few more weeks on the sidelines yet!
Sounds like he has a few more weeks on the sidelines yet! Ollie Reed's Parky dance!
  • Score: 0

8:32am Thu 29 Nov 12

old town robin says...

This part of the knee is where you pass the ball on the inside of your foot and you’re using it all the time.

Don't think he'll have any worries there as we play hoof ball and head tennis now.

Seriously though, wish the lad a speedy recovery, but think Doncaster will be a bit too soon for him, really depends if Danny Howard knuckles down and shows Paolo what he can do, if he does, no risk to bring navarro back to soon.
This part of the knee is where you pass the ball on the inside of your foot and you’re using it all the time. Don't think he'll have any worries there as we play hoof ball and head tennis now. Seriously though, wish the lad a speedy recovery, but think Doncaster will be a bit too soon for him, really depends if Danny Howard knuckles down and shows Paolo what he can do, if he does, no risk to bring navarro back to soon. old town robin
  • Score: 0

8:33am Thu 29 Nov 12

old town robin says...

This part of the knee is where you pass the ball on the inside of your foot and you’re using it all the time.

Don't think he'll have any worries there as we play hoof ball and head tennis now.

Seriously though, wish the lad a speedy recovery, but think Doncaster will be a bit too soon for him, really depends if Danny Howard knuckles down and shows Paolo what he can do, if he does, no risk to bring navarro back to soon.
This part of the knee is where you pass the ball on the inside of your foot and you’re using it all the time. Don't think he'll have any worries there as we play hoof ball and head tennis now. Seriously though, wish the lad a speedy recovery, but think Doncaster will be a bit too soon for him, really depends if Danny Howard knuckles down and shows Paolo what he can do, if he does, no risk to bring navarro back to soon. old town robin
  • Score: 0

9:22am Thu 29 Nov 12

SeanG92 says...

Aye its a funny thing how some players seem to be very prone to injury's. Wish him all the best in his recovery, i think we are missing his unrewarding hard work and tough tackling in the center of the park, as good as Ferry and Bostock are they dont offer to much help to the defense and we have definitely missed that.
Aye its a funny thing how some players seem to be very prone to injury's. Wish him all the best in his recovery, i think we are missing his unrewarding hard work and tough tackling in the center of the park, as good as Ferry and Bostock are they dont offer to much help to the defense and we have definitely missed that. SeanG92
  • Score: 0

10:28am Thu 29 Nov 12

Oi Den! says...

old town robin wrote:
This part of the knee is where you pass the ball on the inside of your foot and you’re using it all the time.

Don't think he'll have any worries there as we play hoof ball and head tennis now.

Seriously though, wish the lad a speedy recovery, but think Doncaster will be a bit too soon for him, really depends if Danny Howard knuckles down and shows Paolo what he can do, if he does, no risk to bring navarro back to soon.
Agree OTR. I wish Navarro all the best but I think Hollands is a better all round player. Some questions though - can we get him fit enough and will we keep him long enough to make a real difference? And will PDC have alienated him already with his post-match rant on Saturday?
[quote][p][bold]old town robin[/bold] wrote: This part of the knee is where you pass the ball on the inside of your foot and you’re using it all the time. Don't think he'll have any worries there as we play hoof ball and head tennis now. Seriously though, wish the lad a speedy recovery, but think Doncaster will be a bit too soon for him, really depends if Danny Howard knuckles down and shows Paolo what he can do, if he does, no risk to bring navarro back to soon.[/p][/quote]Agree OTR. I wish Navarro all the best but I think Hollands is a better all round player. Some questions though - can we get him fit enough and will we keep him long enough to make a real difference? And will PDC have alienated him already with his post-match rant on Saturday? Oi Den!
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Thu 29 Nov 12

dreamofacleansheet2 says...

OTR, Den, I wish him a speedy recovery but for me Bostock is considerable superior to either. I really rate him so if I'm wrong we have an unbelievable array of talent in centre midfield....
OTR, Den, I wish him a speedy recovery but for me Bostock is considerable superior to either. I really rate him so if I'm wrong we have an unbelievable array of talent in centre midfield.... dreamofacleansheet2
  • Score: 0

1:09pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Swindon1984 says...

Remember seeing it happen and it was one of those moments when you almost felt it yourself - first thought going through my head was "broken leg" but fortunately nothing that serious. He is a hard worker and seriously undervalued by some of our supporters (I've heard the words useless to describe him on here before which is totally unfair). Get well soon.
Remember seeing it happen and it was one of those moments when you almost felt it yourself - first thought going through my head was "broken leg" but fortunately nothing that serious. He is a hard worker and seriously undervalued by some of our supporters (I've heard the words useless to describe him on here before which is totally unfair). Get well soon. Swindon1984
  • Score: 0

1:28pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Red1681 says...

Oi Den! wrote:
old town robin wrote:
This part of the knee is where you pass the ball on the inside of your foot and you’re using it all the time.

Don't think he'll have any worries there as we play hoof ball and head tennis now.

Seriously though, wish the lad a speedy recovery, but think Doncaster will be a bit too soon for him, really depends if Danny Howard knuckles down and shows Paolo what he can do, if he does, no risk to bring navarro back to soon.
Agree OTR. I wish Navarro all the best but I think Hollands is a better all round player. Some questions though - can we get him fit enough and will we keep him long enough to make a real difference? And will PDC have alienated him already with his post-match rant on Saturday?
Rant? - No. Alienated? - No.

More likely you alienated LR with a post-post rant!!
[quote][p][bold]Oi Den![/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]old town robin[/bold] wrote: This part of the knee is where you pass the ball on the inside of your foot and you’re using it all the time. Don't think he'll have any worries there as we play hoof ball and head tennis now. Seriously though, wish the lad a speedy recovery, but think Doncaster will be a bit too soon for him, really depends if Danny Howard knuckles down and shows Paolo what he can do, if he does, no risk to bring navarro back to soon.[/p][/quote]Agree OTR. I wish Navarro all the best but I think Hollands is a better all round player. Some questions though - can we get him fit enough and will we keep him long enough to make a real difference? And will PDC have alienated him already with his post-match rant on Saturday?[/p][/quote]Rant? - No. Alienated? - No. More likely you alienated LR with a post-post rant!! Red1681
  • Score: 0

3:23pm Thu 29 Nov 12

hereford says...

i had forgotten we had alan navarro in the squad it seems so long ago that he played for the reds doncaster game ?far too early if they have to send him on loan to get match fitness john bostock and others will keep the midfield ticking over all i need to say is come on you reds
i had forgotten we had alan navarro in the squad it seems so long ago that he played for the reds doncaster game ?far too early if they have to send him on loan to get match fitness john bostock and others will keep the midfield ticking over all i need to say is come on you reds hereford
  • Score: 0

3:58pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Oi Den! says...

Red1681 wrote:
Oi Den! wrote:
old town robin wrote:
This part of the knee is where you pass the ball on the inside of your foot and you’re using it all the time.

Don't think he'll have any worries there as we play hoof ball and head tennis now.

Seriously though, wish the lad a speedy recovery, but think Doncaster will be a bit too soon for him, really depends if Danny Howard knuckles down and shows Paolo what he can do, if he does, no risk to bring navarro back to soon.
Agree OTR. I wish Navarro all the best but I think Hollands is a better all round player. Some questions though - can we get him fit enough and will we keep him long enough to make a real difference? And will PDC have alienated him already with his post-match rant on Saturday?
Rant? - No. Alienated? - No.

More likely you alienated LR with a post-post rant!!
Rant? Well, maybe not. Indiscreet comments? In my view, yes. Frankly, I think PDC expects too much from loan players, especially ones who are not fully fit when they arrive. To come on the radio after a game and criticise them for lack of commitment to the cause is a bit naive and possibly unfair. They are not our players. Perhaps "alienated" was too strong a word also. But I would guess that the players would not feel best pleased at the implication that they were not trying, whether justified or not.
[quote][p][bold]Red1681[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Oi Den![/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]old town robin[/bold] wrote: This part of the knee is where you pass the ball on the inside of your foot and you’re using it all the time. Don't think he'll have any worries there as we play hoof ball and head tennis now. Seriously though, wish the lad a speedy recovery, but think Doncaster will be a bit too soon for him, really depends if Danny Howard knuckles down and shows Paolo what he can do, if he does, no risk to bring navarro back to soon.[/p][/quote]Agree OTR. I wish Navarro all the best but I think Hollands is a better all round player. Some questions though - can we get him fit enough and will we keep him long enough to make a real difference? And will PDC have alienated him already with his post-match rant on Saturday?[/p][/quote]Rant? - No. Alienated? - No. More likely you alienated LR with a post-post rant!![/p][/quote]Rant? Well, maybe not. Indiscreet comments? In my view, yes. Frankly, I think PDC expects too much from loan players, especially ones who are not fully fit when they arrive. To come on the radio after a game and criticise them for lack of commitment to the cause is a bit naive and possibly unfair. They are not our players. Perhaps "alienated" was too strong a word also. But I would guess that the players would not feel best pleased at the implication that they were not trying, whether justified or not. Oi Den!
  • Score: 0

6:11pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Red1681 says...

Oi Den! wrote:
Red1681 wrote:
Oi Den! wrote:
old town robin wrote:
This part of the knee is where you pass the ball on the inside of your foot and you’re using it all the time.

Don't think he'll have any worries there as we play hoof ball and head tennis now.

Seriously though, wish the lad a speedy recovery, but think Doncaster will be a bit too soon for him, really depends if Danny Howard knuckles down and shows Paolo what he can do, if he does, no risk to bring navarro back to soon.
Agree OTR. I wish Navarro all the best but I think Hollands is a better all round player. Some questions though - can we get him fit enough and will we keep him long enough to make a real difference? And will PDC have alienated him already with his post-match rant on Saturday?
Rant? - No. Alienated? - No.

More likely you alienated LR with a post-post rant!!
Rant? Well, maybe not. Indiscreet comments? In my view, yes. Frankly, I think PDC expects too much from loan players, especially ones who are not fully fit when they arrive. To come on the radio after a game and criticise them for lack of commitment to the cause is a bit naive and possibly unfair. They are not our players. Perhaps "alienated" was too strong a word also. But I would guess that the players would not feel best pleased at the implication that they were not trying, whether justified or not.
A lot of the content in PDC's post match interviews is open to interpretation.
I think that the comments should be taken as a whole and are best listened to in order to get the context.
They tend to be reported on this site in chunks sometimes over two or three days, so might not reflect the bigger picture of what PDC has said as a whole.

Of the two players, JMC and Matt Ritchie, who have commented on how PDC says things in terms of criticism etc then there does not appear to be much of a problem from their point of view.

Some players will react better, motivationally, to the proverbial kick up the backside regardless of whether delivered publically or privately.

The other "arm around the shoulder" approach doesn't really come across in the post match interviews. I suspect that the "you don't have to like me, just follow me" might give away which of the two approaches is favoured by PDC.
Which is fine as long as the players, whether on loan or our own, have the desire to work hard, to learn and to keep improving as a result.

Overall, results in nearly a season and a half would indicate that the PDC approach is working so far.
[quote][p][bold]Oi Den![/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Red1681[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Oi Den![/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]old town robin[/bold] wrote: This part of the knee is where you pass the ball on the inside of your foot and you’re using it all the time. Don't think he'll have any worries there as we play hoof ball and head tennis now. Seriously though, wish the lad a speedy recovery, but think Doncaster will be a bit too soon for him, really depends if Danny Howard knuckles down and shows Paolo what he can do, if he does, no risk to bring navarro back to soon.[/p][/quote]Agree OTR. I wish Navarro all the best but I think Hollands is a better all round player. Some questions though - can we get him fit enough and will we keep him long enough to make a real difference? And will PDC have alienated him already with his post-match rant on Saturday?[/p][/quote]Rant? - No. Alienated? - No. More likely you alienated LR with a post-post rant!![/p][/quote]Rant? Well, maybe not. Indiscreet comments? In my view, yes. Frankly, I think PDC expects too much from loan players, especially ones who are not fully fit when they arrive. To come on the radio after a game and criticise them for lack of commitment to the cause is a bit naive and possibly unfair. They are not our players. Perhaps "alienated" was too strong a word also. But I would guess that the players would not feel best pleased at the implication that they were not trying, whether justified or not.[/p][/quote]A lot of the content in PDC's post match interviews is open to interpretation. I think that the comments should be taken as a whole and are best listened to in order to get the context. They tend to be reported on this site in chunks sometimes over two or three days, so might not reflect the bigger picture of what PDC has said as a whole. Of the two players, JMC and Matt Ritchie, who have commented on how PDC says things in terms of criticism etc then there does not appear to be much of a problem from their point of view. Some players will react better, motivationally, to the proverbial kick up the backside regardless of whether delivered publically or privately. The other "arm around the shoulder" approach doesn't really come across in the post match interviews. I suspect that the "you don't have to like me, just follow me" might give away which of the two approaches is favoured by PDC. Which is fine as long as the players, whether on loan or our own, have the desire to work hard, to learn and to keep improving as a result. Overall, results in nearly a season and a half would indicate that the PDC approach is working so far. Red1681
  • Score: 0

11:25pm Thu 29 Nov 12

mancrobin says...

I don't like PdC's approach but I think you make a number of very good points Red1681.

I think it's very hard to follow the thread of some of Paolo's interviews and no doubt many comments are misinterpreted or taken out of context. However, they are clearly rants and often very critical.

But you're right, by and large that has not seemed To effect performance as we have a club that wants to move on and replace players at a rapid rate. Players will know the score and try to use this to their own advantage as well.

However, I believe the best teams are ones where players want to play for each other and play for the manager. A largely settled squad is also the basis of a good team. Therefore, the real test of PdC's management skills will be if we get into the Championship and the rate of change slows down.
I don't like PdC's approach but I think you make a number of very good points Red1681. I think it's very hard to follow the thread of some of Paolo's interviews and no doubt many comments are misinterpreted or taken out of context. However, they are clearly rants and often very critical. But you're right, by and large that has not seemed To effect performance as we have a club that wants to move on and replace players at a rapid rate. Players will know the score and try to use this to their own advantage as well. However, I believe the best teams are ones where players want to play for each other and play for the manager. A largely settled squad is also the basis of a good team. Therefore, the real test of PdC's management skills will be if we get into the Championship and the rate of change slows down. mancrobin
  • Score: 0

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