Arsenal star Santi Cazorla has refused to set a time frame on his return to action after being forced to undergo a new "minor" operation in his ankle on Thursday (23 February). The Spaniard admits that the situation is "pretty desperate" but is still optimistic about being able to recover his best form once the nightmare ends.
The 32-year-old midfielder suffered a knock in his Achilles tendon during the Champions League's 6-0 win over Ludogorets on 19 October, being forced off and replaced by Mohamed Elneny in the second part of the game.
It was expected to be only a minor issue but on 1 December IBTimes UK revealed that the Arsenal star required a surgery because the recovery was not going as expected. The Gunners confirmed those news later and ruled out the former Villarreal and Malaga star for between two and three months.
However, earlier this week emerged that Cazorla had suffered a new setback in his recovery which is expected to keep him on the sidelines for the rest of the campaign.
Cazorla has now explain to Onda Cero that he required a new operation to close the scar and is now unable to set a time frame in his return.
"We are not going through a good spell but we must try to recover and be optimistic. It is a difficult situation to deal with. I had to have another operation today (on Thursday 23 February). It was a minor operation, nothing serious but I still had to go to the hospital to close the scar that had opened," the Arsenal star revealed.
"I had a graft done on my ankle a month-and-a-half ago because the skin on my ankle was practically dead and that was the reason why the wound would not close when I first had my operation in Sweden. Everything was going well so far until I started to do some exercises on the bicycle. The skin opened again and the stitches gave in. We hope this is the last one and I can return as soon as possible.
"These are things that happen in life. It's pretty desperate because I can't do anything. I have to be the whole day at home, resting and on crutches. But I have to face it in the best possible way."
Cazorla was very optimistic in December when had the first surgery, predicting that he could be back in only two months. However, this time he is only focused on recovery, no matter how long it takes.
"We have not set a deadline because I need for the wound to close first. That is the worst thing about this situation. The injury doesn't depend on me. It's not a case of how much work I put in, I just have to wait to see how the new skin that they took from my arm adapts. I now have to wait two weeks to see if the wound and the scar close well. But I can't set any deadline," the Arsenal star added. "I've been almost three months doing nothing. I have lost some muscle mass but that does not worry me because I can get it back soon. What worries me now is the scar to close so I can start working soon."
The Spaniard enjoyed an impressive first part of the campaign after overcoming another injury which saw him missing much of last season. Yet, the former Malaga star admitted that now his biggest concern is whether he will ever recover that form again.
"I'm eager to return to the pitch and feel good again. Because my biggest doubt is how I will find myself in the future when I can going into the pitch again," Cazorla added. "I miss much being able to train with my teammates and the waiting is becoming very long. I know I have to be optimistic and hopefully in the future this will only be an anecdote."
Cazorla was out of contract at Arsenal at the end of the current season. However, and despite the injury, Arsene Wenger's side have exercised an option to keep him at the Emirates Stadium until 2018. The midfielder had been previously linked with a move back to La Liga but now he says that his only concern is about recovering well.
"We'll see, I have one more year here," Cazorla said when asked whether he plans to return to Spain once his injury nightmare is over. "Above all I want to recover and enjoy football again and then we will see (what happen in the future). Now the only thing I want is to get return to training, to feel myself again and then hopefully I can play football again at my best level. Then we will see what happens in the future here, in Spain or wherever."