Clarky's op a success

Friday 26 April 2002

After a season of heartache and disappointment, midfielder Lee Clark was finally forced to admit defeat in his battle to sort out his long-term injury problems with rest and exercise, and let himself be subjected to the rigours of the surgeon's knife.

Fulham Today caught up with Michael Snelling from the Physio team to find out how it all went.

"Lee has just had open surgery carried out on his left calf," said Michael, "The trouble was that all the MRI scans that he had done showed that he had persistent fluid tracking down between his calf muscle groups, and regardless of his rehabilitation programme, repeated scans revealed no change to the fluid initially seen. That led us to believe that the fluid was encapsulated in the form of a cyst.

"So when he was opened up, that turned out to be the case. As the surgeon cut through the fascia, the apparent cyst was excised allowing the fluid to escape. At the same time he took a look at the Achilles tendon which had also been causing problems, and he removed some of the scar tissue from around it.

"Lee had the Achilles problem originally and that then precipitated a calf tear. We'd really exhausted every other form of treatment, so surgery was the last resort.

"He had the operation done on Tuesday and he came out on Thursday morning. He's now got ten days just to allow the wound to heal, he'll have a compressive bandage on, and he has to do nothing for that time but just keep the leg elevated as much as possible.

"Then he'll go partial weight-bearing, and wear an air-cast probably, for a period of up to four weeks. Then he'll begin doing some stretching, and then once he's pain free he can begin a strengthening programme.

"It's a tough call at this stage to say when he might be back to fitness; he might be running again by the time the squad returns for pre-season training. Prior to that he will be spending up to two weeks in France, in a rehabilitation centre that we use, and they will work with him full-time, every day that he's there.

"We're very confident that we have now solved Lee's problem. The surgery was really just exploratory originally, because even after consulting so many specialists we still didn't really know what was going on. So it was good that we were able to identify the problem and sort it out straight away.

"Lee is in good spirits, he's really happy that it finally looks as though it's going to be sorted out. It's been quite a strain for him, having it always hanging over his head"

So it looks like it's good news for the influential midfielder. He's in for a summer of hard work, but what a fantastic sight it will be to finally see him back in a Fulham shirt.