Tom Lees explains Sheffield Wednesday's new process for injured players and how it differs to Carlos Carvalhal's time in charge

Sheffield Wednesday central defender Tom Lees
Sheffield Wednesday central defender Tom Lees
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Sheffield Wednesday defender Tom Lees has detailed what players now have to go through when returning from injury before they can reclaim a place in the first team.

Lees was one of the first of a raft players to come back from long-term injuries when he took to the field against Bristol City at the beginning of this month but, like the rest, he was forced to wait until the medical team and the management were absolutely sure he was ready.

To,m Lees returned from his injury against Bristol City in early March

To,m Lees returned from his injury against Bristol City in early March

Players being rushed back only to break down again soon after had been a too often occurrence in the past and current boss Jos Luhukay has made a change to combat that factor since he took over in January.

Lees recovered from a groin injury, then trained on his own before being reintegrated with the rest of the team. He then played for the under 23s before being considered for a first team return. That's also what Sam Hutchinson and Barry Bannan have had to do and so, too, will any player in the future.

And the Owls vice-captain is pleased by the new process, feeling that 'it's an unrealistic ask' to call a player back into the team at this level when they have only just recovered.

"It's probably a case of when you get your injury you get medically fit, that means your body and your health is back to 100% so you are clear of that injury or that pain or any weakness that you might have got that caused the injury," he told BBC Radio Sheffield.

Tom Lees played for Wednesday's under 23s at Huddersfield before coming back into the first team reckoning

Tom Lees played for Wednesday's under 23s at Huddersfield before coming back into the first team reckoning

"Then it's probably a case now of being given that time to get your fitness back get your conditioning back, do all the things that you need to do to get the level of fitness an the level of sharpness that you were prior to injury. So it's about working outside again on your general fitness. Say you had six weeks off in the summer, you wouldn't come back and play a game straight away, you would do a whole pre-season. So it's almost a case of doing a mini version of that, get yourself fit again and come back into training because realistically, if you have not been playing for a couple of months then I think it's an unrealistic ask to chuck someone in after a day's training to go and play 90 minutes in the Championship.

"I think it makes the players hungrier to play, they are being kept waiting a bit more and are champing at the bit now and that's been the case with us that have come in in the last few weeks and the boys who are going through that process. I think it's probably for the better because you are at less risk of injuring yourself, coming back from absolutely zero at ground level and being chucked straight back into it, chances are you are going to break down again. I think the main thinking about it is trying to keep players back and keep them back on the pitch and not have anymore breakdowns."

Lees went on to say that this process is a big change from how injuries were managed under Carlos Carvalhal, but more in line with what he has experienced in the past at other clubs.

"I don't think it's a significant change in football generally," he added. "It's a change from how things were done previously at this club because any other club I have been at it's always been the case. It's just a bit different, I think before you'd probably be out for two months then after one or two sessions you are back in.

"It's great because it's what you want to be doing. I don't think anyone will complain because you want to be back on the pitch as soon as you can but you have got to look after your body and no one is super-human. You can't really go from being out for a few weeks to playing in a game straight away, otherwise you wouldn't do a pre-season, players wouldn't bother training if that was the case. It's just about a bit of common sense a really and making sure players are fit for when they return to the pitch."

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