Clarky on the mend

Wednesday 1 May 2002

Fulham Today caught up with midfielder Lee Clark this week to find out how he was feeling after his recent operation.

Lee, how did the operation go?

"I had the op last Tuesday, so I'm a week into my rehabilitation. I don't feel too bad at the moment; I've been at home since I came out of hospital, this is the first time I've come into the training ground.

"Hopefully the operation was successful, everything feels fine at the moment. There was a bit more damage in there than the medical team had thought, so it was a big job, but now I've got to get focussed on getting fit and getting back to playing football."

What's your timetable now?

"I'm not sure what the exact plan is from week to week, but they're talking about anything from fourteen to twenty weeks to get back to full fitness. But I thought when I originally did the injury on Boxing Day I would only be out for ten days, so the last thing I want to do now is to put any sort of time-scale on it - I'll be ready when I'm ready. I have had so many set-backs and felt so low at times because the injury has dragged on that I've just got to make sure that I come back one hundred per cent."

It must get to you when an injury persists like this and is so hard to diagnose...

"It never really got any better, it was always with me. Part of the injury was there from the beginning of the season - that was why I had to miss the first three games. I only started five league games and in one of those I only lasted nine minutes, so this season has turned out to be a complete nightmare for me.

"I'm not a player who's ever experienced a long-term injury before - so it's been very, very disappointing."

Has it made you feel more positive knowing that they've finally found out what was wrong?

"When I found out I was going to have the surgery it was a bit of a relief, because I thought we'd finally get to find out what the matter was. And then when the surgeon did operate he found a bit more than he expected - and even though it's going to take time and was a bigger op than expected, I'm very glad it's all over with now and I can look forward to being able to run around without any pain, and getting back out on the football pitch and doing the business once more."

So you can look forward to plenty of hard work this summer?

"I'll probably just have a couple of weeks off, and the rest of the time I'll be doing rehab work to get ready. I can't say I'll be ready for the beginning of the season - things might go well or they might not, so I'm not putting any dates on it.

"I'll come back when everything's right physically and mentally and I've got no pain, and I won't risk everything by trying to get back too early."