Gilberto Silva is determined to play again for Arsenal this season and rubbished suggestions his back injury is career-threatening.
The Brazilian midfielder has not played for The Gunners since mid-September after fracturing vertebrae in his back.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger had hinted it would be unlikely that Gilberto would return before the end of the campaign.
There had also been speculation that the severity of the injury would cast a cloud over the 28-year-old’s career.
But Gilberto has scotched talk he will have to retire and is hoping he can make his comeback by the time Arsenal play in the second round of the UEFA Champions League at the end of February.
“My message for the people who say my injury is career-threatening is this: forget it,” affirmed Gilberto.
“I don’t know where these fears about my career being in doubt are coming from.
“I’ve been wearing an orthopaedic vest for the last two months, taking it off only to have a shower or to sleep. But I don’t feel any pain.
“I will undergo new tests next week and if everything is all right, I will start the physio again soon.
“I expect to be back as soon as I can and my goal is to be ready and available for Arsenal’s next matches in the Champions League.”
Archive for December, 2004
Arsenal suffered a new setback when midfielder Gilberto was potentially ruled out for the rest of the season on Friday due to a back injury.
Manager Arsene Wenger, who has only two of his five central midfielders fit for Saturday’s Premier League game at home to West Bromwich Albion, had expected the Brazilian back next month.
But he told reporters at the club’s training ground: “It’s not good news on Gilberto. We had a check on his back and it looked like the bone has not grown and the distance of the fracture is still exactly the same.
“We have decided to rest him six more weeks and have sent him back to Brazil on holiday. He has to rest completely…and when he comes back it is not sure he will be capable of playing.
“We don’t think it is (career-threatening), but it is season-threatening. If in the next six weeks, the bone has not completely grown together, we have to give him three months more.”
Wenger, who ruled out surgery for the Brazilian, said: “In central midfield, we are very short.”
Gilberto has not played since a 2-2 league draw with Bolton Wanderers on September 18, while fellow Brazilian Edu is out for another three weeks after breaking a toe in last week’s League Cup win over Everton.
Arsenal’s promising 20-year-old Frenchman Mathieu Flamini is out until next week with a knee problem, leaving only skipper Patrick Vieira and 17-year-old Spaniard Francesc Fabregas fit for duty in central midfield.
“It is not ideal,” Wenger said. “He (Fabregas) played on Saturday, he played on Tuesday (for Spain’s Under-21s against England), he’ll play tomorrow, on Wednesday and on Sunday — and he’s 17.
“At the beginning of the season, I counted on him playing 15 to 20 games if needed. At the moment, he’s nearly there.”
Fabregas has played 15 times for Arsenal including the pre-season Community Shield win over Manchester United.
Wenger ruled out one alternative of moving winger Robert Pires into the middle, where he has played for France and previous club Olympique Marseille.
“He’s not a real ball winner,” Wenger said.
The midfield injuries come as Wenger weighs his options up front, after striker Thierry Henry told L’Equipe newspaper this week he was only playing at 70 percent of his abilities this season due to a niggling Achilles problem.