MIDDLESBROUGH have turned to the man responsible for solving a number of sports stars’ injury nightmares in the hope of getting Mustapha Carayol back to fitness and to his best.
Carayol has had the cruel blow of learning he tore the anterior cruciate knee ligament in the last minute of Saturday’s goalless draw at Bournemouth.
It means the winger will not play again this season but he is also likely to be absent when the new season starts in August at the height of his rehabilitation.
Middlesbrough have turned to top orthopaedic surgeon Andy Williams in a bid to ensure Carayol receives the best possible treatment and recovery programme, which should enable him to return to his best next season.
Dr Williams was also the man Theo Walcott turned to when he ruptured the same ligament earlier this year as his World Cup season came to a premature end. The same surgeon has previously operated on Lawrence Dallaglio, Andrew Flintoff, Joe Cole and Danny Cipriani among a long list of high profile others.
Carayol has had his fair share of injuries since joining Middlesbrough from Bristol Rovers in the summer of 2012 but this latest set-back is by the far the worst he will have to overcome.
The 25-year-old has been one of the Championship club’s most creative players under Aitor Karanka, even though he was dropped last month because of a poor ‘attitude’ problem.
But Carayol knuckled down in training to win back his place and has been back in the manager’s first team plans in recent games, so his loss is a real blow to a team struggling to score goals.
Karanka will be looking at his options to play wide, with Albert Adomah, Emmanuel Ledesma, Curtis Main and Kei Kamara all players who have been used on the flanks in the system used by the Spaniard.
There is also time to bring in a player on loan before the emergency deadline shuts next Thursday if Karanka thinks it is essential.
Middlesbrough are sitting 12 points adrift of the play-off places with just 11 games remaining ahead of this Saturday’s visit of Queens Park Rangers to the Riverside Stadium. An incredible run of form is required for them to even stand a chance of a top six finish.
Aussie defender Rhys Williams is one injured Middlesbrough player still hoping to play before the end of the season.
Williams had not been expected to return until pre-season because of the ruptured Achilles he suffered in January. That seemed to have put paid to his chances of a World Cup call-up for the second time in four years.
But Williams said: “My dream of playing in the World Cup is still alive. I didn’t make it the last one and I thought this would be the one when I could make a big go of it. Maybe it isn’t to be and I’ll have to wait for the next one, but time will tell and I’m doing me best to get fit.
“I still think I’ve got a great chance of making it. I haven’t told a lot of people this, but I’m feeling really good and way ahead of schedule.”