James McClean, desperate to be available for crucial Stoke City and Republic of Ireland fixtures, is hoping to cock a snook at the doctors and be back available in next to no time.
The 30-year-old midfielder suffered a torn medial ligament and meniscus in Stoke’s defeat to Preston on February 12 and had been expected to be sidelined until the end of March.
He has flown to Dubai for rehabilitation – and a family holiday – and is hoping and expecting that he can half his recovery time.
“It’s a torn MCL and a torn meniscus,” he told The Irish Examiner.
“They said it was a long-standing tear, so I’ve obviously had it a long time but it wasn’t giving me any trouble.
“They said it would take six weeks, so I’m hoping it’s three or four. I’ve always been a good healer and I’m hoping that’s the case this time around.”
McClean has been wearing a knee brace to prevent further damage, making for some pretty fierce one-legged work outs.
He added: “This thing has been on for nine days and it’s annoying me.
“It’s driving me insane that I can’t do the things that I normally do, and it’s only been two weeks since the injury. Hopefully, it’ll only be for another week or two but we’ll see. I’ve had a good week of training here in Dubai.”
Stoke have 12 games remaining this season, including tomorrow night’s trip to Blackburn Rovers. They currently sit three points outside the Championship relegation zone.
Republic of Ireland have a Euro 2020 qualifying play-off against Slovakia in Bratislava on March 26. The winner will take on either Bosnia or Michael O’Neill’s Northern Ireland for the chance to play in this summer’s finals.