Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Raul Jimenez could make a surprise return to Premier League action before the end of this season, as he continues his recovery from emergency surgery.
The 29-year-old was involved in a sickening clash of heads with Arsenal defender David Luiz back on November 29, and he had to be rushed to hospital and undergo emergency surgery after suffering a fractured skull.
The severity of the injury left many expecting Jimenez to miss the rest of the campaign, but Tim Spiers reports that the Mexican may in fact make a shock return to action before the end of the current season, given his impressive recovery rate from the horrific incident.
This has been echoed in Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo's words of encouragement, as he admitted that Jimenez's rapid response to treatment has surprised both him and the medical staff.
“His progress has not only surprised me, but also the medical staff. He's improving in all his concussion tests that we did previously, he's doing really, really well.
“We are truly positive that (he can play this season). It's very good news with the way he keeps improving day by day.”
Santo spoke glowingly of his striker regarding his commitment to overcome this setback, but also offered some caution over his return to action, explaining there is a 'medical plan' in place in terms of any stress being placed on the skull.
“He's exactly the same guy, always a smile on his face, aware of the process he has to go through and confident he wants to return stronger,” Santo said.
“On that part we're not worried, he has all the support, his wife, he has a beautiful girl who gives him all the smiles.
“The other part...heading, how can he deal with this situation, how his brain is going to react to acceleration, deceleration, jumping, impact...that's another issue. That will come with time.
“We have a medical plan and these things are very responsible decisions to be made. This will require a decision from the surgeon, it requires tests and scans on the skull and all these things take time. We will not rush or take any kind of risks.”