Christopher Nkunku has become a frequent sight on the training ground and the anticipation has been building towards his competitive debut. He impressed in the brief time we saw him in action during the summer, which was cruelly cut short by the MCL injury he sustained in the friendly against Borussia Dortmund (via a not so friendly challenge).
But it’s often these final few weeks that are the toughest in a long recovery — not necessarily in terms of the work or the actual rehab, but in terms of staying patient and not rushing things in order to ensure a full and complete recovery. The goal isn’t just to get Nkunku back on the pitch, but to be able to count on him for the rest of the season, and beyond. (And also to give him the best opportunity to hit the ground running once he is playing.)
And so, the official word ahead of Sunday’s match is that ... well, that there is no official word. You might call it a gametime decision. Questionable, perhaps, if the Premier League were following NFL injury-reporting rules and designations.
“Not too many news [but] there is still one training [session] more tomorrow, so if we can see if some players are available more.
“We need to assess tomorrow and then decide. They are close, but we need tomorrow to take the decision. Maybe Lavia is the more difficult [one]. But we need to assess Nkunku.”
-Mauricio Pochettino; source: Football.London
So I guess we might have Nkunku on the bench, maybe ready for a few minutes at the end of the match. And then we can build up match fitness from there, just as we’ve seen in the case of Reece James.