Jack O'Connell: Further injury blow for Sheffield United defender after another operation on injured knee

Jack O’Connell has suffered a further blow in his bid for fitness, after Sheffield United confirmed that he has undergone a second operation on the knee problem that has kept him out since last September.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 11:50 am

The influential defender played only twice last season before a decision was made for him to go under the knife in a bid to correct the knee issue that was plaguing his performances.

Without him, United were relegated from the Premier League and the defender himself missed the chance to potentially play himself into contention for a spot in the England squad for this summer’s Euros.

Now, he faces a fresh battle for fitness after going under the knife again this summer.

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Jack O’Connell missed all but two of Sheffield United's matches last season as the Blades went down. Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Jack O’Connell missed all but two of Sheffield United's matches last season as the Blades went down. Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Blades boss Slavisa Jokanovic recently revealed to the media that O’Connell would not be fit for pre-season, and he is now expected to miss a significant chunk of the next campaign in what is a significant blow for both club and the player.

“From the medical department, I don’t have any feedback that he will be ready soon to start working with me,” Jokanovic said

After the first operation last year, O’Connell was pictured stepping up his rehabilitation at United’s Shirecliffe training base and all the signs were that he was progressing by the day. Hopes were even raised that he would be able to return to action by April, in time to hopefully have an impact on United’s season.

But a succession of setbacks derailed that plan before Paul Heckingbottom, then the temporary manager, was forced to admit that O’Connell would not be available before the end of the campaign.

O’Connell was put through a variety of exercises and situations in a bid to accelerate his rehabilitation. In January, he was seen kicking a ball on a trampoline-like piece of kit called a lateral rebounder, designed to improve co-ordination, balance and stability, and later put himself through some intense altitude training sessions on an excercise bike inside a specially-designed oxygen tent, with levels reduced to around half the normal atmosphere.

"Jack has had a further operation,” United confirmed today, “and we are hoping for a speedy recovery."