The life of a professional footballer is often thought to be one of extreme highs and desperate lows, never more so than when a player is working to return from a serious injury. The video documentary just below, chronicling Christian Benteke’s 18-week absence from the Crystal Palace first-team, is a fantastic window into the lonely world of injury rehabilitation.
Having played a constant role in Roy Hodgson’s starting XI over the previous year, Benteke’s knee surgery saw him confined to the bubble of the gym whilst his manager and teammates worked their way through training just 100 feet or so away, day after day. As is always the case when players return from operations of that nature, things had to start slow but gradually, the Belgian gained more strength and began to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
As you would expect, Christian plays the key role in this particular film but a huge amount of credit must go to the medical staff who worked alongside him in his battle to return to the first-team fold as quickly as possible. Their names and faces aren’t well known to supporters but each and every member of that group play a huge part in allowing our players to be match fit week after week.
The build-up to Christian being cleared for first-team training takes on real importance in the latter stages of the piece, forcing me, even though I know how the narrative ends, to tense up a tad as he was clearing the final hurdles before being given the green light to rejoin Roy and co.
Having come off the bench with just under 20 minutes to go in our recent defeat at Watford, the hope is that Big Ben will soon be back in the Palace starting line-up looking like a new man. Who knows? He may well be given another cameo display at Anfield this weekend; how poetic would it be for him to grab the winning goal?