The international break is often dreaded by fans. Club football comes to a halt, there is little action on the weekends, and not much to talk about. For the players, it is completely different. The break gives them the chance to get healthy, recovery their fitness, and work on improving weaknesses before the season picks back up. Since the break began, players at Athletic Club have all said that it came at the right time and the team has been in good spirits preparing for Sunday’s clash with Girona. However, there is now one thing to be worried about.
Aritz Aduriz felt pain in his lower back during Tuesday’s training session. He showed signs that he could continue but was eventually pulled off the field out of precaution. Due to the club’s silence on the issue, many believed that it was nothing serious and that he would be fine to play in Sunday’s game. That changed on Wednesday when Athletic released a statement saying “Aritz Aduriz is suffering from acute lower back pain. Pending evolution”.
To be clear, Athletic did not announce anything that wasn’t already known. That being said, if minor bumps and bruises are nothing serious clubs normally do not even address them. The fact that Athletic did release a statement has caused many to believe that the striker is doubtful to play against Girona this weekend. Aduriz did not feature in Wednesday’s first training session and isn’t expected to be in the second session of the day either. The players will have Thursday off, so Friday will be vital to determining whether or not he will be available. If he doesn’t train on Friday it is almost certain that he will sit this game out.
Even if Aduriz is cleared to play that doesn’t mean that he will start. Kuko Ziganda has been very clear about the fact that he doesn’t want to overuse or overburden the 36-year-old, so we may see Iñaki Williams lead the attack regardless. Whatever happens, the Lions will have a difficult test ahead of them. Girona may only be playing their third Primera game ever, but they have shown signs of being a club that will fight until the very last second. Athletic will also be without Oscar De Marcos who is still recovering from a ankle sprain, although Ander Iturraspe is expected to make his return after suffering a muscle injury during the preseason.