Former Reading physio Jon Fearn has confirmed winger Yakou Meite could potentially be out for over a year in an interview with BBC Radio Berkshire, with the Ivorian suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
25-year-old Meite had an operation on this injury last week and said it went ‘well’ on Instagram, but also added he would be out for several months as he looks set to miss at least the first half of the Royals’ 2021/22 Championship season.
For the Berkshire side, this is a major blow with the winger scoring 37 Championship goals in the last three seasons and winning the Royals points on his own, smashing in equalisers against Nottingham Forest and Queens Park Rangers at the latter stage of the 2020/21 campaign.
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This injury is made even worse by the fact Michael Olise, who can also play out wide, looks set for a move to Patrick Viera’s Crystal Palace and with Sone Aluko being released in the summer, this leaves the Royals with just one senior winger available in Ovie Ejaria going into next month’s Championship opener.
Fearn, who was the club’s lead physio from 2001 to 2010 and now works with Chelsea, spoke to BBC Radio Berkshire about how soon Reading fans could potentially see Meite return, but also delivered some bad news for Reading regarding the severity of this injury and how long it could take for him to fully recover.
He said: “The rehab is very progressive, every month is different from the previous month and for a straightforward ACL (injury), the soonest we had someone back is about five months.
“But these things can be going into a year if things are really complicated and the injuries are quite serious.
“It’s about keeping the player fresh and motivated, that’s the biggest challenge.”
And later on in the interview, the former Reading physio went on to add: “You can have a minor issue with an ACL where there are just a few bits, or you can have lots and lots of issues, and that will all need repairing, potentially and that extends the period they have to recover.”
This is a massive blow for Reading fans with Meite’s goalscoring prowess on the wing and up front – and was especially important for the club near the end of last season when main strikers Lucas Joao and George Puscas were both out of form.
And even though manager Veljko Paunovic could see the Ivorian more as a striker, he’s still a useful option to have on the wing and along with the left-back position, that’s where the Royals need to devote their limited spending power with the Berkshire side currently under a transfer embargo.
Another striker may also be needed because Reading will sorely miss his goals – and Joao’s injury worries in previous seasons will only strengthen the case to bring in a forward.