Sports injuries tend to be fairly random occurences. Short of another primary disease causing underlying issues, something that would be caught by the team’s medical staff, whether a player gets injured or not boils down to pure dumb luck. Unfortuantely for manager Luciano Spalletti this unknown is something he has to account for on a daily basis, but doubly so when a massive match is on the horizon, such as the Champions League reverse fixture against FC Barcelona. But Spalletti managed the circumstances well and Inter Milan are looking much the better side for it moving forward.
Upcoming Match: Atalanta vs Inter, Sunday November 11th, Stadio Atleti Azzurri D’Italia, kick-off 12.30 CET.
Overall Squad Depth:
Because Spalletti had to play an inferior squad in the match versus Genoa CFC to spare players for the upcoming Champions League match, many reserves were given their first starts in some time and were given the opportunity to showcase their abilities. They did not disappoint. In the 5-0 victory, fullbacks Dalbert and Danilo D’Ambrosio, midfielders Roberto Gagliardini and Joao Mario, and striker Lautaro Martinez all played very well to exceptionally. The major takeaway– the squad’s depth looks very healthy as Spalletti has quite a bit at his disposal to keep the squad challenging in multiple competitions.
First Team Fitness:
Radja Nainggolan: Going into the matches versus Genoa and Barcelona, Nainggolan was the only major name of concern on the team’s injury list. Having suffered a medial ankle injury from a late tackle in the Milano Derby, the midfielder looked set to miss several weeks. In last week’s column, I even noted that it would be unlikely he’d play this week given the general nature of medial ankle injuries and how long it takes to heal from them. But, much to my surprise, Nainggolan came on for the final 7 minutes versus Genoa before playing 63 minutes versus Barcelona.
Nainggolan’s quick recovery from his injury simply highlights the most fascinating part about medicine– everyone’s body is completely different. While Nainggolan healed up in about 3 weeks time, the same injury could cause another athlete of equal quality to miss 2 months of action. Some have expressed concern that he may have rushed back from injury given the reports of a high pain tolerance and that he wasn’t particularly effective on the pitch against Barcelona, but there’s likely little need for concern there. As a general practice athletes are usually not cleared to play unless 3 parties sign off on being ready to return: the player, the coach, and the treating physician. Assuming this general practice holds true for this situation, all three parties likely felt he’s healed enough where further damage wouldn’t be sustained, though he may be sore after the match.
Whether Nainggolan plays in the upcoming match against Atalanta is questionable, but at the very least he’ll likely be available on the bench.
Avi Saini is a 26 year old medical student from California. He’s been an Inter fan since 98 after seeing the wonders of Ronaldo, who he maintains is the true greatest of all time. Avi writes a weekly medical column exclusively for SempreInter.com.