UNITED Kingdom: Nottingham Forest defender Tendayi Darikwa hopes he will be fit enough to return to action before the end of the season.
The full-back required surgery on his right knee after suffering a ruptured ACL on the eve of the new campaign.
He faces a long spell on the sidelines, with rehabilitation a “slow” process, but Darikwa remains hopeful of making an appearance in the final games.
“So far, so good,” the 27-year-old said of his recovery.
“It’s a long-term injury, so it’s slow progress. But I’m happy that I am making progress.
“The main thing is just to stay focused on the rehab – do everything that the doctors and the physios are telling me to do.
“Hopefully I can then get back at the back end of the season.
“We haven’t put a timescale on an exact return date just yet, because it’s still so early.
“But I’m hopeful, with a bit of good luck and a lot of hard work, I might get lucky and play a few games.
“I’m just trying to build the muscle back up in my leg, because I wasn’t able to put pressure on my leg for a good few weeks.
“I’ve been back in the gym, back on the bike and doing a lot of strength work at the minute.”
It comes on the back of an impressive 2018/19 for Darikwa, when the right-back found some of his best form in the Garibaldi and represented Zimbabwe at the Africa Cup of Nations.
He was used sparingly in pre-season for the Reds after being away with his country, before suffering the injury blow in July.
It means he has not yet had a proper chance to show head coach Sabri Lamouchi what he can do.
“It was disappointing. It hurt me a lot,” Darikwa said. “Any footballer will tell you that they just want to play football week in, week out.
“It happened at a bad time, just before the start of the season.
“But the surgery went well and I’m just looking forward now, to making my return.
“I’ve not properly had the chance to show him (Lamouchi) what I can do.