Former Aston Villa captain Ron Vlaar has suffered an injury setback following knee surgery last Wednesday, and will now face a lengthy four month period off the pitch.
The Dutch defender first tore his meniscus back in January, but the rehabilitation time then was only a month. Vlaar, a reported Lazio and Southampton target, rejected the chance to extend his Villa contract in hopes of finding more competitive football.
The 30-year-old first noticed something was amiss while abroad in India, where he is the ambassador for Yojana, a Dutch charitable project dedicated to helping disadvantaged youth in India.
“Something didn’t feel right”, he wrote in a blog post. “In response to this, I requested a medical examination and unfortunately my worst feelings were confirmed. On the MRI scan of my left knee it became clear that I had a torn medial Meniscus.”
Matters went from bad to worse for Vlaar, as an operation expected to last a single hour dragged on to three. The surgeon also had to drill into his cartilage, leaving scar tissue as protection.
“Instead of two days with crutches, there will now be a four-to-six week period. Instead of four weeks’ rehabilitation, it will now take three-to-four months,” he explained.
Vlaar, who spent the majority of last season struggling with injuries, made a total of 78 appearances for the Villans, scoring twice.
His performances at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil helped inspire the Netherlands to a third-placed finish, and furthermore earned him international recognition, with Manchester United believed at one point to be interested in his signature.
Ever optimistic on his chances of a good recovery, Vlaar wrote:
“Part of being a professional athlete is learning how to deal with setbacks in your career, and having the mentality to come back stronger.
“I have faced tougher situations in my life and always managed to overcome them. I am proud of what I have achieved in my career and I am positive that with the support of the people close to me I will come back stronger again.
“I am already starting to feel the energy flowing through me, the button has been pushed and my mind is completely focused.
“There is only one thing in my mind and that is to be completely fit again!”