It has been nearly six months now since Blackburn Rovers fans had to watch Bradley Dack gruesomely break down once again – just months after he returned from a lengthy lay-off.
Fans were still allowed in stadiums back in December 2019 when the attacking midfielder came off worst in a battle with Sam Morsy against Wigan Athletic – the result of that tackle being a cruciate ligament rupture.
Dack battled for a whole calendar year to recover from that, eventually making his triumphant return to the pitch in December 2020.
16 Championship matches later though and the same fate cruelly hit Dack – a collision between himself and former Rovers goalkeeper David Raya of Brentford meant that the 27-year-old was set for another long spell on the sidelines.
Six months on, Dack is now back on the training pitch doing non-contact work as his recovery ramps up, and he has delivered an update to Rovers fans on how his progress is going and when supporters can expect to see him at Ewood Park once again.
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“I woke up so excited to be back out on the grass after four-and-a-half months of hard work in the gym,” Dack told the Rovers media team.
“It feels like the work has paid off and I feel really good. Once you’re back on the grass then it’s a big boost and you feel you’re riding downhill from there.
“You have lots of milestones that you want to hit and it’s a nice feeling to tick this one off.
“It’s been different this time around, the operation was different and it felt like the first four months went quicker this time around than it did the first time I had the injury.
“The surgeon says that the ACL gets to 95% strength after nine months, so that’s what you work towards.
“That’s the time we’re working towards and that’s where I want to be.”
It sounds like Dack is aiming to be back in action by the start of January – which would be a two month quicker recovery time than his first injury.
That would give Tony Mowbray and Rovers a big boost going into 2022 if all goes well and the club will know where they are at by that time of the season – whether that is promotion contenders, mid-table or down near the bottom end of the table.
Dack could come in and make an impact, and he will definitely be desperate to make up for lost time, but you have to factor in that this is the second serious injury to his knee in two years.
There’s every chance that Dack may not be the same player as what he was and that would be understandable due to the nature of his injuries – everyone has their fingers crossed though that he returns the same player as before.