Even when he’s injured, it appears as though Keisuke Honda is capable of breaking new ground at Melbourne Victory.
The 32-year-old superstar was on Thursday ruled out for at least four weeks with a hamstring injury suffered aggravated in training in training earlier in the week; scans conducted on Wednesday revealing a tear in the Japanese superstar’s hamstring.
Fronting the media ahead of his side’s trip to Sydney to take on Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday night, Victory Head Coach Kevin Muscat explained that the injury to his star playmaker was one that was rarely encountered in the sports medicine world.
“The boys do a wonderful job in here, the staff and consultants,” Muscat said
“But there hasn’t been (Honda’s injury) – the radiologist hadn’t seen one in his career.
“The leading physician that we spoke to, this is the second one in thirty years.
“It is going to be a situation where we treat it as it presents and once again we’ll err on the side of caution.
“I suppose initially when you get the news it’s disappointing to lose anybody to injury.
“The fact that Keisuke is now going to be out for a period of time is something that we’ve been, in the last couple of days, working towards.
“It’s an opportunity for us, an opportunity for individuals and in a busy period we look forward to the opportunity.”
Honda had already been absent from two Victory fixtures prior to his latest diagnosis of hamstring trouble; watching on from the stands as his side was held to 1-1 draws with both Melbourne City and Wellington Phoenix.
However, Muscat clarified that, while the malady that had prevented Honda from playing in round nine and ten affected the same area of his body, the two injuries were different in their nature.
“(I hope) all the people that do understand everything about the muscles excuse my explanation because I’m not a doctor,” he began
“Keisuke had a myofascial strain – no tear – a myofascial strain in the thing that surrounds the hamstring. So, the strain’s in there.
“Generally, it’s been a seven, eight, nine-day turnaround back to full fitness (from those injuries); which would have made him available certainly for the Wellington game.
“That’s why we kept saying he’s close, he might be available and giving him the best opportunity to play.
“At that point in time for the Wellington game, based on the work the boys do in here the medical staff and the specialists that we’ve spoken to, we erred on the side of caution – extreme caution – to leave him out of the Wellington game.
“Post that, everything leads to him recovering fully from that myofascial strain and he starts training with the team.
“He trained on Saturday with the team, trained Monday with the team, trained Tuesday with the team and didn’t report an isolated incident that we all see with hamstrings – somebody running and it’s like you pull up like you’ve been shot – he didn’t report anything like that.
“Again, erring on the side of caution, we sent him away for scans and the scans come back with a tear in the hamstring.
“So, it’s the same injury but it’s a different injury because now because it’s actually in the hamstring.
“You’re not pleased about losing anybody, but you quickly move on.
“24 hours later and Keisuke’s into his rehab and working diligently to get him back as soon as healthily possible.
“Having said that, we don’t know when that’s going to be because there’s not as much data on this type of injury as there is on all the other hamstring injuries because of its rare nature.”
Victory will be looking to continue an early season run of form that has seen them undefeated in eight on Saturday night – their last loss coming against Perth Glory in round two of the season.
And while they may have to do it without Honda, Muscat did indicate that there may be some reinforcement on the way for the defending A-League champions.
“The focus is on Western Sydney, a team that might turn up very desperate,” the Victory gaffer said.
“We’ve got to prepare for that when we go across there.
“Raul (Baena) comes back into the frame. Georg Niedermeier comes back into the frame.
“We’ve prepared ourselves.”