The infection had spread to the bone also. He was at risk of losing his leg. Sanchez went to work. First, he cleaned up as much of the infection as possible. Then he blasted Cazorla with antibiotics over the next couple of months for the remaining spots of infection. He then went back to operate on the tendon again. This was when the surgeon had to get inventive. He had to reconstruct what was left of the Achilles tendon and make it whole again. He pulled semitendinosus tissue from one of the player's hamstrings to make do.
He inserted a plate into his heel. His body was a patchwork. During one skin-graft procedure, when flesh from his left forearm was taken for use on his right ankle, a tattoo with his daughter's name, India, was cut in half—the letters "I" and "A" are now orphaned on his ankle.
To return him to the level of football he was previously at was something I've never seen done before. I always had the fear that all of the press, all of the newspapers were waiting to see what would happen to Santi Cazorla. If he failed in his recovery, it would have been very disappointing. This is what I always feared. After the surgeon had finished with his knife, Cazorla's road to recovery was only starting, however. In July , he left the Basque Country for Salamanca.
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He rocked up at Herranz's physiotherapy clinic in the picturesque medieval city. Cazorla was walking with a limp, but he was comfortable with Herranz. They had known each other for a decade. Herranz has worked as a physio for the Spain national football team since Cazorla's rehabilitation regime was brutal.
He lived a monastic existence in Salamanca. His family stayed in London where his kids were at school, later moving to Asturias to be closer to their extended family. His daily schedule started at 10 a. His days were a swirl of Pilates, swimming-pool sessions and physical workouts interspersed with physiotherapy. He often ate take-out at night on Herranz's treatment table. Step by step, Cazorla made progress. In August , he got to do his first bit of running. The strength in his legs started to come back.
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But then disaster struck. In November , his leg broke down again. The makeshift tendon had to be unravelled from tangled tissue and reattached. More surgery was required. He was back to square one. A lesser man would have packed it in. But not Cazorla. He was making a lot of progress, but then he phoned me from Vitoria to say his leg had broken down again. It was the most complicated moment during Santi's recuperation. Herranz credits Cazorla's indomitable will for giving him the strength to start again. He makes sacrifices.
Résumé de l'article
He's a fighter. He's very positive. If he weren't so positive a lot of sportspeople in his situation would have abandoned the treatment cycle. It's a trait that Sanchez picks up on, too. He says there were several factors that ultimately contributed to the success of Cazorla's recovery, which included the quality of his physiotherapy treatment; the modern biological therapies that Sanchez was able to profit from during Cazorla's operations and the fact the year-old is blessed with fantastic genes. Above all these factors, however, Sanchez singles out Cazorla's positive mindset: "It's the force of his willpower—his mentality.
He never, ever lost the desire to return to play football. Mike Smith. Bradford City Miscellany.
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