Everton have arranged for Morgan Schneiderlin to see his knee surgeon on Zoom next week as part of their strategy for treating injured players during the coronavirus lockdown.
While players across the world follow individual and group training routines at home to keep fit during the crisis, the challenges facing those recovering from injury are more complex. Everton have three first-team players who are not receiving the hands-on treatment they would expect during rehabilitation from long-term injuries – Schneiderlin, Cenk Tosun and Jean-Philippe Gbamin. But, thanks to video communication services such as Skype and Zoom, the club have been able to manage their recoveries and, in Schneiderlin’s case, arrange a check-up with the specialist who operated on his torn meniscus last month.
Everton’s director of medical services, Danny Donachie, said: “The two most challenging situations are with Morgan and Cenk. They are not able to do any weight-bearing exercise. Most of what we’d have done with them would be hands-on, and that’s not possible. We are doing regular Skype sessions with them but what we can do practically is very limited. Morgan is due to see the surgeon on Monday next week and we will do that via Zoom. From then he can probably do more exercise, so I will be doing one-to-one videos with him every day.”
Tosun underwent surgery this month after damaging an anterior cruciate ligament during his loan spell with Crystal Palace, while Gbamin had an operation in February on the quadriceps injury that has ruined the midfielder’s debut season with Everton.
Donachie said: “JP is easier to treat. Adam [Newall, a physiotherapist] sets him a weekly programme and checks in with him on video most days. We are checking in with Morgan and Cenk every day. Because they can’t do a lot, the disappointment about not gaining is not that large, they wouldn’t be seeing much improvement at this stage anyway. And they see the bigger picture over what is happening in the world. They appreciate what is going on and, because of that, you appreciate the smaller things don’t you?”
Despite uncertainty over when or if the Premier League season will resume, Everton have divided their squad into training groups in a bid to maintain physical and mental health as well as inject competition.
“We are hoping to generate competition by doing some sessions together in our training groups,” said Donachie. “It isn’t always possible because of logistics. I have a group of four, for example, and two of them don’t have bike, so we can’t do the bike session together. But we have a weekly log of their sessions and that has introduced an element of competition because some of them want to do more sessions than anyone else – and see that recorded.”