Wolverhampton Wanderers’ defender George Elokobi has revealed the secret weapon in his long road back to fitness from the cruciate knee ligament injury which almost ended his career.
The 22-year-old Cameroonian has been making use of a medical device which helped the recuperation of Aston Villa centre-half Martin Laursen who suffered a similar injury two seasons ago.
The treatment involves a mechanical contraption which lowers and agitates the knee to ensure swelling does not develop after surgery but the down side is the player has to be hooked up to it for at least eight hours a day.
Elokobi said: “The machine is similar to that other players have used. I think the idea was to have it on at night and try and sleep on it. I wasn’t sleeping though - although I tried. It was a bit hard.
“I had to do it six to eight hours a day so I tried to do it on a two-hourly basis. I put it on in the morning when I awoke and again for two hours in the afternoon and then the evening. It was uncomfortable but you get used to it. It was tough. Even when you were watching tv or a DVD, or playing a game, it was difficult because there was always some activity from the machine going on around the leg.
“But it has helped and, in the long run. It has been a massive help because it has helped the mobility on my left knee.”
Elokobi is back at Wolves’ Compton training ground and, although he has had to endure a set-back with further surgery to clean out the knee, he is hopeful of making a return to at least running again come the new year.
Today also sees another milestone for the player, who suffered the injury playing against Ispwich Town in August following an innocuous challenge from Town’s Danny Hayes. Elokobi has been given the green light to start driving again.
He said: “I haven’t been able to drive for seven or eight weeks which has been frustrating and, as I live in Birmingham, I have had a succession of taxi-drivers chauffering me about.”
The left-back has also kept himself occupied watching video nasties of the moment he actually suffered the injury – something most players would surely baulk at.
He said: “Matt Murray (Wolves’ goalkeeper) gave me a lot of DVDs to watch while I am recovering – things like the whole series of Prison Break and Roots as well. He has been out injured for a long time too and has been brilliant, ’phoning me and visiting my house.
“But I watch the injury too. I watch the moment when I got injured on a DVD of the game and that is my motivation to get back. It doesn’t frighten me, I have watched it more than 30 times. It is a motivation for me to make me want to go out there fighting fit again. I draw strength from it.”
Elokobi, who joined Mick McCarthy’s side in January from Colchester, added: “As a player I want to be out there playing and I look at that DVD and think nothing can get worse than that injury in football. It makes me want to get myself up and fighting again for a place in the team.
“Even though that is a long way off they say time flies. I am just taking one day at a time.
“I watch that incident over and over but then, if I feel like it, I will watch the whole game. It was my last game but it is not going to be my last game ever. I will get back there even if it is next year. “