Friday, May 31, 2013

Back to Tennis...?

(Inés Gorrochategui Tennis Academy)

Update (04/06)
With the latest press release, published by David's PR department yesterday (thanks, Guille), David informs us that he "keeps working on his rehabilitation every day" by means of "the exercises that his team is showing him how to do". And he's "confident" that he'll be "able to keep to the schedule" set up by the doctors and his team.

They're back home in Unquillo, David and Victoria and little Sossie (an Armenian name they chose simply because it's short and they like it; source). And right now, there surely are other things on David's mind than tennis. Via the official site's Twitter he thanked "all my fans for the displays of affection they have sent me at this very special moment in my life". But apart from that - no news.

Therefore, how David's recovery is coming along, whether he thinks he might have a shot at playing the Davis Cup semifinal, when he'll take up practicing again on the courts pictured above, and whether or not the exhibition in November will be his farewell - I can't say. Because David doesn't say.

In the past, when faced with pauses like this I usually tried to keep posting, tried to keep the blog going. As in writing more than just - there's no news. But not this time around, I'm tired of speculating.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Still No News... - Except David Has Become a Father

Update (28/05)
News of a different and very happy kind (thanks, Tiffany): Last night, David's girlfriend Victoria gave birth to their daughter. David was present and apparently, everything went well (source). So David is now the father of a little daughter called Sossie. An unusual name, perhaps he'll explain it one day in an interview.
About David the tennis player there's still no news at all.

Edit: This photo is from the Twitter of David's official site.
The message that accompanied it:
I'm happy!!! Last night, Sossie was born. Both the baby and Vicky are in perfect conditions.

As we enter the fourth week after his double surgery there's still nothing to be heard from David.

What is known by now: On November 23, at 4pm local time, David and Rafa Nadal will play an exhibition match at La Rural in Buenos Aires, where a stadium with 15,000 seats will be erected for the event.

But apart from that - nothing.

Monday, May 13, 2013

In Place of an Update...

No news from Unquillo.
All is still absolutely quiet on the David front.
As soon as there's any news, or David agrees to do an interview, I'll post it here.

Edit (23/05)
There's now a video message by Rafa Nadal, who's happy to return to Argentina after so many years for a match against his "friend David... Nalbandian". One match, it sounds like, not two.

Edit (20/05)
Next week, tickets go on sale for David's exhibition match with Rafa Nadal in Buenos Aires (November 23). What's going to happen with the other exhibition in Córdoba is not really clear yet.

Edit (18/05)
Usually, two weeks after surgery is, at the latest, when David starts giving interviews again.
And that's where we are now - but nothing so far.

Edit (14/05)
At a press conference yesterday, Martin Jaite said that David returning in time for the Davis Cup semifinal would be "almost a miracle" (source).
The only thing that seems fairly certain at this point is the two exhibition matches with Rafa Nadal, still scheduled for November (source).

Monday, May 6, 2013

David's Surgery - The Official Version

Update (10/05)
No news, no interviews so far.

Update (08/05)
David has arrived back home, rehabilitation process about to begin (source).

News about David usually come from different sources. From the various news sites or journalists and their Twitters, sometimes even from David's camp or from David, himself. And then there's a special kind of source, one that I was hoping I wouldn't have to use anymore - doctors and clinics and their medical communiques. But as it turns out, the Clínica Mapfre de Medicina del Tenis, Dr. Ruiz-Cotorro's new headquarters in Barcelona, has its own website and more about David's injuries and surgeries.

Their article contains what could be called a summary of recent proceedings. Including the official diagnosis and reason why David underwent surgery. And apparently, he was in a worse state than his camp initially told the media. Here's the clinic's version, as published yesterday:
The player [i.e. David] travelled to Barcelona for a review and to have additional necessary tests conducted by Dr. Ruiz-Cotorro, his personal doctor, at the Clínica Mapfre de Medicina del Tenis.

In order to speed up the tennis player's recovery, for the sake of the next Davis Cup tie, it was decided to carry out the double intervention.

The player had a ruptured rotator cuff plus a Type 2 SLAP lesion on his right shoulder. On his right hip, he had a labral tear. According to Dr. Cotorro, "these types of injuries are very common among professional tennis players."

The double surgery, performed by the doctors Philippon, Vilaró and Ruiz-Cotorro took six hours and was conducted at the Clínica Teknon in Barcelona.

The player is making progress as planned and he was released today. The estimated recovery time is between four and six months during which he'll have to undergo a very intense process of rehabilitation under the supervision of his personal physiotherapist Diego Rodriguez in Argentina, as well as several check-ups at the Clínica Mapfre de Medicina del Tenis in Spain.

The doctors Philippon, Ruiz-Cotorro and Vilaró expressed their satisfaction after surgery, which confirmed the diagnosis ahead of the intervention.
The part about a rupture in his rotator cuff is complete news to me. As is the existence of a fully formed labral tear in his right hip. This means it was the exact same injury again that he also had on his left hip. Which doesn't make it any easier to be optimistic about David's chances of returning in time for the Davis Cup semifinal. After all, the estimated four to five months recovery time after his first hip surgery turned into eight months (and then due to an abdominal tear eventually ended up being nine months).

What this article and basically every other piece of news I've seen have in common is the Davis Cup semifinal as the big goal. His injuries, as described here, must've made it impossible for him to go on playing and postpone surgery until after the tie. But just like in all the other articles and tweets I've seen there's no mention of any plans beyond the semifinal (except for the exhibition in November).
We'll have to wait and see what he has to say if he talks to the media when he returns to Argentina.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

More on David's Double Surgery


Update (06/05)
David is still in Barcelona but he was able to leave the hospital already yesterday (source).
He'll fly back home to Argentina in the next couple of days and then begin rehabilitation.

Four years ago, when David had his first hip surgery in Barcelona, he caught himself wondering whether he'd be able to leave the hospital on his own two feet. Yesterday, undergoing a combined shoulder and hip surgery (conducted by the same team as in 2009), David was apparently more relaxed. According to his camp, even after six hours in the operating room he was still in the mood for making jokes (source).

By now, David is unfortunately a seasoned pro when it comes to having surgery. Hip surgery 2009, hernia/adductor double surgery in 2011 and keeping up his two-year rhythm, the shoulder/hip double surgery now in 2013. On all three occasions little was known about the reasons for those surgical interventions before they took place. Here's a summary of what I've been able to find out in this case.

On closer inspection (by Dr. Ruiz-Cotorro), the numbness in David's shoulder turned out to come from a so-called SLAP tear or lesion. Which seems to be a fairly common shoulder injury, though one that's not easy to diagnose as it's apparently difficult to detect by normal tests and the symptoms can vary.
There are four different types of SLAP tears. In David's case it was Type 2, which requires surgery.

When David had surgery on his left hip in 2009 it was because of a labral tear. An injury he spent over a year playing with, also because apparently it wasn't diagnosed correctly for some time.
With his right hip it seems that he didn't want to be taking the same kind of risk. The problems David was having with his right hip apparently pointed in the directon of another degenerative labral tear, therefore the surgery as a "preventive measure".

But is it realistic or even possible to play competitive tennis four months after these surgeries?
Javier Maquirriain, doctor of the Argentine Davis Cup team:
Generally speaking, recovery from a SLAP lesion takes between three and six months, depending on the patient. The same goes for the hip. It's an injury that happens a bit more often these days but it's also diagnosed earlier so the prognoses are more favourable.
In other words - it's possible but there are no guarantees. Still, David and his doctors must be convinced that it's very much possible, otherwise he wouldn't have risked being able to play the Davis Cup semifinal. - Which will from now on be the main objective. And according to Bernardo Ballero, everything's planned.
Nalbandian is in good spirits. His plan is to work with his team on getting back in time for the Davis Cup semifinal. After the postoperative [treatment at the hospital] he'll begin with a kinesiological rehabilitation before he picks up a racquet again.
David's kinesiologist and old friend Diego Rodriguez is in Barcelona with him. Victoria couldn't accompany him this time, for obvious reasons. But as soon as David gets discharged from the hospital (probably by the middle of next week) he'll be on his way back home to Unquillo. To begin rehabilitation with Diego Rodriguez and also to soon become a father, with the birth of his daughter expected for early June.

How much we'll get to hear from David in the coming weeks and months, well, that's difficult to say at this point. I guess there'll be a round of interviews when he arrives back home in Argentina. But apart from that it'll depend on how much he wants to talk to the media (probably not much). In any case I'll do my best to keep up with David as he tries to get on the road to Prague:
I'm confident that I've taken the right way in order to be able to play tennis again in the shortest possible time.
 Here's hoping he's right and that it's all going to work out.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Update: Double Surgery Today


After over six hours the double surgery is over and the good news is it was successful (source).

As I post this (at 10pm Barcelona time) David is still in the operating room.
Apparently, it'll take about another hour - altogether six hours (source).

The worst case scenario has been confirmed.
David will undergo the double surgery today, on his right shoulder and on his right hip.
The hip surgery will be conducted by Dr. Mark Philippon, who also operated David's left hip.
The estimated recovery time is four months and David still hopes to play the semifinal:
Together with my team, I'm going to work very hard on getting back in time to play the Davis Cup doubles against the Czech Republic.
So right now, all I can do is say - good luck David. Y espero que te mejores pronto.

It's never a good sign if David gets on a plane to pay a visit to Dr. Angel Ruiz-Cotorro in Barcelona.
And this time, it could turn out to be a particularly bad omen.

Citing sources close to David, La Nacion reports that David's trip to Ruiz-Cotorro could end with having another double surgery. On his shoulder, where he has reportedly suffered a so-called SLAP tear. And also, confirming the rumours to that effect, on his right hip.

If this worst case scenario comes to pass then taking part in the Davis Cup semifinal (four months from now) would become very difficult, if not to say highly unlikely.
And what it would mean for David's career - well, only David knows.

Right now, the decision for or against surgery at this point has apparently not been made yet.
I'll do my best to keep you posted.