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Martino admits Raúl Jiménez’s injury worries him more than he expected

The Mexican forward last played on August 31st and still has no clear return date as the World Cup approaches.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC/Wolverhampton Wanderers FC via Getty Images

After missing his team’s first two Premier League matches due to a knee injury, Raúl Jiménez finally debuted coming off the bench on August 20th when Wolves visited Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in their 1-0 loss to the Spurs. He made his first start of the season in his club’s EFL Round 2 victory against Preston North End just three days later. The Mexican forward also played the full match on August 28th against Newcastle and then on the 31st visiting Bournemouth. And that was the last time he saw a minute of action.

During the September 3rd warmups for Wolves’ clash with Southampton, Jiménez’s status was downgraded to out at the last minute. The club’s medical team released a statement on the Mexican the following day that read: “Raul’s pre-season was interrupted by a knee injury which means that he is still building his resilience and his ability to recover quickly during periods of match congestion. It was felt that his body needed a few more days to recover after he felt a pain in his groin during the warm up and we did not want to put him at increased risk of injury.”

In other words, it was a small aggravation due to his lack of pre-season conditioning and wasn’t expected to be but more than a few days. Well, it’s now officially been 18 days (more than expected for sure), he’s missed two matches (plus the canceled one due to the Queen’s passing) and Tata Martino formally expressed his worry for his NT striker in yesterday’s press conference:

“I’d like to think we’re on time, that he can recover and even play a match with Wolverhampton. I have many expectations. I was in his house 20-30 days ago. I never thought we’d be in this situation. I thought it wasn’t as serious, and not that it’s that serious, but it is something that requires a lot of attention. And as the days go by and we get closer to the decision-making and the start of a World Cup, I have to watch out for this situation.”

Not the words you’d expect to hear from your NT coach regarding your best available forward just two months removed from a World Cup. The issue with all of these groin/adductor muscle injuries is they tend to linger a lot. The pain doesn’t go away as expected and can go on for multiple months even, and that’s exactly what appears to be happening to Jiménez. Now, fair to say it’s only been two weeks and half, but that medical report leads you to believe he’d be back by the next game. Clearly not so.

The worst part is you would’ve expected to hear an estimated return date from ‘Tata’ but he can’t even mention that. The injury is what will also cause Jiménez to miss the Peru and Colombia friendlies over this next week. So, in short, he will have missed at least a month of action because of this muscle reaggravation, if not more. Fortunately, it’s still two months before the start of the 2022 World Cup, so plenty of time to make a full recovery (you’d think, right?). But all in all, clearly not good news in Mexico’s camp in an already scarce position for this National Team.