Will Petr Cech return to the pitch in Febuary?
With the coming Christmas break football fans will have a chance to reflect on the past season - both on the domestic scene and on the international level, and many will no doubt be pleased to note progress by Petr Cech - the country's No. 1 keeper who was seriously injured in October. Cech suffered a skull fracture after a collision with Stephen Hunt in a Reading-Chelsea match, an injury that left a shadow over the player's career. Originally, it was thought that Cech could be out for as much as year before returning to the pitch. Now, the news has been carefully more optimistic.
Petr Cech has long been hailed as the most talented keeper of his generation and fans were shocked when on October 14th Petr Cech suffered what was easily a life-threatening injury in the English Premiership: a skull fracture that saw him undergo emergency surgery. At the time, many well-wishers wrote in to publications like the Czech weekly Sport. Reporter Ondrej Skvor described the mood at the time:
"They were shocked and the fans sent us many messages for Petr and also wrote him some poems to encourage him with recovery. Of course it was an accident that was very closely watched here by many, by football fans in the Czech Republic."
Now, those fans as well as fans of London's FC Chelsea can arguably now be more optimistic, with news that Cech's recovery so far has been going well. The Czech daily Mlada Fronta Dnes writes that the player has begun careful training now for two weeks, with the keeper telling reporter Jan Palicka - a specialist on the football beat - that his training involved light weights and some time on the indoor bike. The keeper reportedly began after returning recently from a much-deserved vacation in Dubai.
One thing is certain: the player has stated he will not rush his return, at the same time there are indications that he could return to the pitch as early as March: much sooner than originally expected. Cech's personal manager Pavel Zika has been quoted as saying a return in the quarterfinals stage of the Champions League was "realistic". That Chelsea game is set for late Febuary. Then, on the 24th of the next month month the Czech Republic's national squad will face Germany in the second leg of Euro 2008 qualifying - a much anticipated game.
If Petr proves 100 percent healthy, the team's coach Karel Bruckner has already indicated the player will of course be most warmly welcomed.
There are of course still many "ifs" and tests will still have to be taken to make sure the player has fully healed from injury. Only positive results will then pave the way for more regular training and after that, a comeback.