Mikel Arteta believes that Gabriel Jesus’ recovery from his knee injury is going well, however doesn’t expect his striker to be back in action in the near future.
The Brazilian was sidelined after picking up the issue during the World Cup, and underwent surgery on his return to the UK after his time in Qatar ended prematurely.
Because of that, Arteta is being cautious about when he’ll be available for selection again as he wants Gabriel not to rush his rehabilitation to ensure the problem is fully clear, although admits that he is determined to get back as soon as possible to help us later in the season.
“He’s progressing really well,” the boss updated journalists in his pre-Tottenham press conference. “He’s working really hard. He’s in the right place in his recovery regarding the time that we set for him, but he’s still a bit far [away] to be back.
“I would like to see him very quickly but I don’t think that’s going to happen. We’re going to have to be patient with that one.
“With every surgery there are always a lot of things you have to be very cautious with, especially in the first few weeks. He’s going to push everybody there to be on the pitch really [soon], but we have to be cautious as well.”
However, one long-term injury concern ended earlier this week when Emile Smith Rowe came on as a second-half substitute during our FA Cup win at Oxford United.
That was his first taste of first-team action since September after also going under the knife to cure a groin problem, and Mikel is delighted with his timely return ahead of derby day – hear from Emile about his delight at returning.
“It’s great to have him back,” he added. “He felt good, they were his first minutes after four months. He’s worked so hard to be in the position he is today.
“Now we need to give him minutes and we need to get him back in the team because he’s a very important player for us.”
Smith Rowe replaced Bukayo Saka, who limped off at the Kassam Stadium but like in his post-match press conference on Monday, Arteta was quick to allay any fears his attacker could be set for a spell on the sidelines, simply suggesting “I think he will be OK” when pressed by journalists.