Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele to return in 3 months, claims surgeon
- Barcelona star Dembele is progressing as planned, according to the Finnish surgeon who operated on the World Cup winner in February
- It's a welcome boost for Barcelona and the winger, who has plenty to prove once he returns
That's according to doctor Lasse Lempainen, who operated on the Frenchman a week later - refuting recent claims suggesting the winger's recovery had stalled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
As quoted by Sport, the Finnish doctor said: "I am very sure that he can return to the maximum level six months after the operation."
After Javier Tebas' comments earlier this week hinted that Spain's top-flight could resume the 2019-20 season on June 12, the Barcelona man may ultimately feature in some capacity to help Quique Setien's men before the campaign is concluded - either domestically or in Champions League competition.
This season's UCL knockout stages have been provisionally scheduled to resume in early August, by which time Dembele is expected to make a long-awaited return after a year plagued with troublesome injuries and more inconsistent form.
Dembele, whose last appearance saw him limp off in agony against former club Borussia Dortmund in November, broke the proximal tendon of the femoral biceps on his right thigh Feb. 3, before undergoing surgery in the Finnish town of Turku eight days later.
Dembele's recovery is welcome news for Barcelona fans
Lempainen diagnosed him with a six-month layoff, which at the time, sidelined him for the rest of the season and derailed aspirations of earning a berth in France's Euro 2020 squad.
However, the coronavirus pandemic and sporting suspensions worldwide have proven a blessing in disguise for the World Cup winner, as things have been disrupted and given him time to recover before joining back with his Barcelona teammates in training.
Barcelona were forced into the emergency signing of former Middlesbrough striker Martin Braithwaite, after Dembele joined Luis Suarez (knee surgery) in the treatment room.
Nonetheless, Dembele remains a part of their Champions League squad and will be eager to assert his quality once more among Europe's elite - their last-16 second-leg tie against Serie A side Napoli has been slated for August 8.
Despite only making nine appearances - a total of 492 minutes - across La Liga and the Champions League this season, the Barcelona man will be eager to prove his worth.
Questions have been asked about his Barcelona future and given the financial outlay they splashed to sign him from Borussia Dortmund in 2017, he's failed to live up to expectations.
Time is of the essence, especially after Antoine Griezmann's arrival last summer at Barcelona. Setien knows he cannot play all four (Lionel Messi, Dembele, Suarez, Griezmann) at the same time.
Nonetheless, it's good news for Barcelona fans: Dembele's recovery is going well and he's on schedule. Having undergone mandatory coronavirus tests over the past week, he began a new phase of recovery in the facilities of the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper - where he'll be encouraged by seeing his teammates who are training again after extended time away.