Returning Wolves fans were treated to the beautiful sight of star striker Raul Jimenez warming up at Molineux again, as he was back on the pitch before the club’s final game of the Premier League season.
The Mexican is still sidelined after suffering a horror head injury against Arsenal back in November 2020, but he was there to help welcome supporters back to the stadium ahead of their campaign closer against Manchester United.
Wolves have looked a different team this season without their main goal-getter. Finishing seventh last season after a bright campaign, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side are set to finish in the bottom-half this term after sliding down the table.
Jimenez managed three goals in ten Premier League appearances before he was ruled out for the rest of the campaign with a fractured skull, after a sickening clash of heads with Arsenal defender David Luiz.
The injury required surgery, which left the striker with a sizable scar on his head, but recent medical and physical tests have shown there has been no lasting damage.
Jimenez has been told he must wear a protective headguard for the rest of his playing career, but the frontman has been given the all-clear to return to training.
And he was pictured passing the ball around in the build-up to Sunday’s season finale against Manchester United, ahead of his expected return to first-team football next season.
Jimenez has been training daily since March, but was instructed by medical staff to avoid heading the ball and any aerial duels.
He has been given the green light to return to full training in July, having been told he will have to wait until next season to think about a full return to competitive football.
Fans also gave a warm reception to Espirito-Santo as the Wolves boss arrived outside the stadium on Sunday afternoon, after the shock news of his departure this summer.
Supporters were stunned on Friday as the club announced Sunday’s clash with United will be the Portuguese coach’s last in charge.
But there appeared to be good vibes only as the boss arrived at Molineux.
On Jimenez’s return, Wolves club doctor Matt Perry revealed their plans for ease the Mexican back into action, and said they expect him to play ‘a full part’ in the 2021/22 campaign.
“Raul was seriously injured six months ago on 29th November and underwent emergency surgery for a major traumatic brain injury and skull fracture (TBI) at St Mary’s Hospital Paddington.
“Since then, he has been under the care and supervision of his neurosurgeon at St Mary’s, Miss Sophie Camp, and Professor Tony Belli of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, as well as the medical team at Compton.
“His skull fracture has now healed well; he will wear a protective headguard to cover the area of bony injury for the remainder of his career, but it is adjudged strong enough for him to return to play with this protection.
“A brain injury such as concussion can take weeks and months to recover fully and TBI will sometimes leave lasting deficits. It is wonderful to be able to say that Raul has made a remarkable and excellent recovery to date.
“He has no measurable signs of deficit and is now at the stage when he can contemplate a return to the career he loves; but a degree of caution is still required.
“Raul has been able to progress from basic fitness work into full competitive training from early March; only holding back on powered heading and aerial duels. He has now received the all clear to start these activities and is physically as fit, strong and agile as ever.
“Further match-based rehabilitation will start in July and will be tightly controlled initially. This respects the fact that although his recovery appears to be total there is a big step from training to competition.
“We are hugely grateful to Professor Tony Belli and Miss Sophie Camp with their guidance and advice on his management, and Miss Camp and her colleagues at St Mary’s for the life and career-saving surgery in the few hours that followed Raul’s initial injury.
“We hope and expect that Raul will be able to play a full part in Wolves’ 2021/22 season.”
Arsenal fans protest against owner as Josh Kroenke at Emirates for Brighton game
David Luiz close to tears in Arsenal farewell speech and applauded by teammates
Haaland swaps shirt with ref after win, while Dortmund allow opponent to score pen
Transfer news: Kane replacement, Zaha’s bombshell, Man United ‘want’ Ronaldo
‘We have enough football’ – Europa Conference League ‘dilutes’ game even more
Begovic ‘disgrace’ for Toney clash in Bournemouth’s bonkers play-off loss to Brentford