On The Treatment Table
Nordin Amrabat, Camilo Zuniga and Christian Kabasele are all back out training on the grass as the Hornets' injury list starts to clear up.
Costel Pantilimon and Roberto Pereyra are now the only players sidelined and unavailable to Walter Mazzarri. They are continuing their rehabilitation away from London Colney at specialist centres, with Pereyra about to step up his rehab at Udinese while Pantilimon is at a facility in Marylebone.
"Costel has a problem with his right ankle," explained medical director Luca Gatteschi.
"He’s working well now. He is in his second week of rehab and he’s happy with his condition. He’s showing good improvement. We need to take it step-by-step. The first step was assessment, now he’s on the second step. We have a goal, not a time. If we reach the goal in four days, fine. But if we reach it in five or six then this is fine also."
Pantilimon sustained the injury in the FA Cup defeat at Millwall.
"He is making good improvement," added Gatteschi. "The first step was easy because it was without load. The second and third step is more difficult because we need more load and more impact. We could have him here [at London Colney] in two or three weeks but it depends on the reaction of the ankle when we have load. But so far, for the first week, it is good – better than we expected."
Amrabat has been out of action since the home game with Tottenham after damaging the ligaments in his left ankle. After being ruled out of the African Cup of Nations, he returned to London Colney late last week after a spell in Holland.
"He has his own physio there and it is possible for him to do some good work there," said Gatteschi.
"He had two weeks away and now he's back [in light training] on the pitch. He had a complex ligament injury. This takes time. The first half of the rehab seems very good. The ankle is good, it’s stable. We need to look at the reaction when it has load on the pitch. This week will be a week of rehab on the pitch, rehab in the gym. He will have a progressive load on the ankle and then we will see the reaction."
Kabasele has missed the last three games but is back in full training. "He had an old muscle problem and so we took time to strengthen the quad muscle and the knee," Gatteschi explained. "He needed time to reduce the future risk of injury so he had two weeks of training and rehab work on his thigh."
Zuniga has also spent time away from London Colney in the last fortnight but he returned to training on Friday after a spell in Colombia. Meanwhile, Jose Holebas missed training on Monday as a result of the red-card tackle by Jeff Hendrick.
"He had a contusion on his calf," Gatteschi revealed. "Thankfully there is no muscle injury but we had to avoid putting load on the calf as a consequence of the kick he got in the first-half."