Asa Hall is making steady progress as he recovers from the calf injury which cut short his Cheltenham Town debut at Bury on the opening day of the season.
The former Shrewsbury Town and Oxford United midfielder suffered a torn calf muscle in the fourth minute of the match at Gigg Lane and it has been a long road back to full fitness.
But senior sports therapist Ian Weston is happy with his recovery, although he stressed the 27-year-old cannot be rushed back into action from this kind of injury, which was far worse than initially feared.
“We had a scan straight after the injury, which showed a small tear, but we then had to wait for the internal bleeding to subside and when we had a second scan after a month, it showed a 15cm tear running from the calf to the Achilles,” Weston said.
“It’s a fragile area, which can be slow to heal due to the lack of blood flow to the Achilles.
“We visited a specialist last week, who ran an ultrasound scan on it and that was positive, showing the injury has healed, but it has thickened and is therefore still weak.”
Hall has continued his intensive rehabilitation in the gym with Weston and fitness coach Ian Hutton, aiming to return stronger and fitter all round than he was before the injury.
“We’ve had to pick Asa up, then make sure he is taking small steps forward each week and he is now able to do some jumping work pain free, but he is not yet able to do a one foot push off with a one foot landing.
“When he can do that without any pain, we’ll get him back outside doing functional work so that's the next target.
“We can’t rush it now and this final stage just because it’s been eight or nine weeks and we have to make sure of everything.”
Weston is happy with Hall’s overall fitness, but he is likely to need a reserve game before he is considered for a League Two comeback.
“In pre-season we knew there were certain areas Asa needed to work on and the positive from this is that we have had the opportunity to work on those,” Weston said.
“He will be stronger all over, not just his legs, than he was when he first joined us.”
The total length of lay-off is expected to be around three months.
“We are pleased with how it’s going and I don’t want to aim for a certain game because if it doesn’t happen, the player will be disappointed and so will the fans," Weston said.